THE LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL THE COLLECTION OF NORTH CAROLINIANA ENDOWED BY JOHN SPRUNT HILL CLASS OF 1889 C289.209 W317f 00044637009 FOR USE ONLY IN THE NORTH CAROLINA COLLECTION Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 http://archive.org/details/disciplesonpamliOOharr DISCIPLES ON THE PAMLICO: A HISTORY OF FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA by Richard L. Harrison, Jr. Copyright 1991 Richard L. Harrison, Jr. Published by First Christian Church, Washington, North Carolina Printed by BookCrafters, Inc. The publishing of this book has been supported by the generous gifts of: Mr. and Mrs. James F. Bagwell Mr. and Mrs. Ray H. Briley Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Bunting Bertie and Vivian Cartwright Mr. and Mrs. Howard Chapin Mrs. Charles Daughtridge Mr. and Mrs. Henry Griffin Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Harrison, Sr. Callaree and Wilbur Horton Family of J. P. Jackson Mrs. William F. Jarman Mr. and Mrs. William F. Jarman, Jr. Ada Lee Jarvis Mona W. Jarvis Dr. and Mrs. A. McCray Jones Family of Kathleen Jackson Kopp Family of Mrs. M. D. Leggett Family of W. A. Parvin Mr. and Mrs. Harry Pelletier Laura Pamela Pelletier Mrs. Carolyn Thompson Petrou Mr. and Mrs. C. Michael Poole W. R. Roberson, Jr. E. Leon Roebuck, Jr. Family of J. Max Roebuck Family of Dr. Ray G. Silverthorne Cecil and Elva Smith Mr. and Mrs. Deward Smith Mrs. Edna W. Spruill W. E. Stancill Mr. and Mrs. Clifton Toler Dr. and Mrs. Harold Tyer Mrs. Vivian C. Weatherly Sam R. Wilson Family of Heber Grey Winfield, Jr. Dedicated to those saints with clay feet who gathered together and nurtured the community of faith known as the First Christian Church of Washington, North Carolina. Acknowledgements Any book of history is dependent upon the insights, vision, and support of many individuals and groups. So it is with this project. First the name of Glen Weaver must be cited. This work has been his dream and his goal for a number of years. He has come to have a new and profound understanding of the communion of saints as he has served as minister of the First Christian Church of Washington, North Carolina. It is in their honor and in respect for their accom- plishments that he has urged and cajoled committees and board members and the author to bring the project to completion. The staffs of the Bosworth Memorial Library of Lexington Theological Seminary and the Disciples of Christ Historical Society deserve many words of thanks. Particular words of appreciation must be given to David McWhirter and May Reed of the DCHS for their assistance and service. Katherine Gay lord of the Carolina Discipli- ana Collection at Atlantic Christian College has on several occasions gone far beyond the call of duty in assisting the author. In addition, Pam Pelletier has supplied the author with impor- tant research data, often needed quickly and by long distance. Cal- laree Champion and the Centennial Celebration Committee have been helpful and encouraging, particularly as the project drew to completion. A most important acknowledgment must be given to Laura Davis, secretary and administrative assistant to the Dean of the Dis- ciples Divinity House at Vanderbilt for her hours of work transcrib- ing research notes, photo-copying, and preparing the manuscript. She has worked diligently and cheerfully throughout. When Ms. Davis left Nashville for Atlanta, her successor, Susan May, joined in on the task with good spirits and exacting efforts, and helped bring the final research and manuscript to completion. No one has been more helpful, indeed, crucial, to the comple- tion of this project than Mona Pelletier Harrison. She has served as V vi Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church researcher, advisor, and editor as well as full and enthusiastic partner. She refused to have her name on the title page, but that is where it belongs. Many members of First Christian Church, along with former ministers, have been helpful and forthcoming with insights and sto- ries. Without these, this work would be the bare recitation of data, and such is not history. History is the life story of people and groups of people. This par- ticular story is of people with more faith than money, sometimes people of greater hope than reason, and almost always, people with hearts open to serve. Table Of Contents Chapter 1 From the Western Frontier to Eastern Carolina 1 Chapter 2 Building A Church 11 Chapter 3 Seeking an Identity 29 Chapter 4 Maturing in Ministry 55 Chapter 5 Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 71 Chapter 6 Conflict and Growth 93 Chapter 7 Maturing in Faith and Service 123 Chapter 8 Weaving New Patterns 149 vii Chapter One From the Western Frontier to Eastern Carolina By 1888, the Disciples of Christ were active in many parts of Beaufort County, but not yet in the county seat of Washington. It was time to do something about this, and that something was the creation of a Bible School, and then a church. Throughout their history, Disciples had followed a pattern of es- tablishing churches in rural areas, and then moving into county seats and later to large urban areas. Part of this process was simply be- cause the Disciples began on the frontier, where there were few towns, and no great cities. 1 The Disciples in Washington were another congregation of an American-born religious movement that had grown rapidly in the middle part of the nineteenth century, and by 1888 were being seen as one part of the large Protestant mainstream in American life. While the face of the Disciples had changed significantly since their early years on the frontier, their fundamental commitments remained intact, even if there were serious tensions. The story of First Christian Church of Washington begins with the emergence of a religious reform movement in Kentucky. This is also the story of a young Presbyterian minister, Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844). Barton Stone was born in Maryland, raised in southwestern Vir- ginia, and educated in Guilford County, North Carolina, at the Cald- well Academy. David Caldwell was a Presbyterian greatly influenced by a revival movement called the Great Awakening that swept much of the American countryside in the 1730s and 1740s. According to his autobiography, Barton Stone had come to the school in order to become a lawyer, and make his fortune. He was at most uninterested in the high-pressure tactics of these revivalistic Presbyterians, and was disdainful of their intensity and seriousness. However, the powerful preaching of James McGready, among others, led him to despair for his soul. 1 2 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church A different preacher, with a different approach to issues of life and life hereafter, gave young Stone hope. William Hodge preached on the love of God, and God's desire that all be saved. Barton was so relieved by this new message that he set aside his plans to be a lawyer and offered himself to the Presbyterians as a preacher. Although raised an Episcopalian, Barton Stone became a li- censed Presbyterian preacher, and was sent by the Presbytery to serve in a church in Eastern North Carolina. However, cold feet interfered and as he approached the Tidewater region, he turned and fled. Con- fronted by an elderly woman who accused him of running from God like Jonah of old, Stone returned to the Presbyterians, confessed his sins, and accepted a new assignment in the wild lands west of the mountains. At first he tried Tennessee, and then in 1796 followed an oppor- tunity to serve in two small churches in the Bluegrass region of Ken- tucky. In addition to serving as a preacher, he operated a school for children in the neighborhood of his Cane Ridge Church. Here he found people who were cool in their faith, not eager to listen to an enthusiastic and warm-hearted preacher. He learned of a powerful revival underway in Southwestern Kentucky. In this territory of outlaws and scofflaws, extraordinary changes in people's lives were taking place. The people received the gospel message of redemption from their sins with great public emo- tion, with shouts and tears, with cries and fainting. Stone thought that such hard sinners required hard saving. Despite seeing much that he considered to be fanatical, he de- cided to announce a revival at each of his churches. The Concord Church near Carlisle, Kentucky, had a service of the Lord's Supper scheduled for June. This was a five day event in which emotions were already heightened. He invited several other Presbyterian preachers to join in the work there. Several thousand attended. In August it was the turn of the Cane Ridge Church to have a Communion service. (At this time on the frontier, it was common for Presbyterian churches to have the Lord's Supper only once or twice a year.) Word was sent out in all directions. Presbyterian ministers were invited to gather to do the work. Methodist ministers were in- vited also to participate, despite the fact that most Christians treated other denominations with open hostility. When some Baptist preach- ers showed up among the great crowds, they, too, were allowed to enter in the work. From the Western Frontier to Eastern Carolina 3 Over the five days of the revival at Cane Ridge, perhaps as many as 25,000 different persons attended, some remaining throughout the event. The little log cabin church became the center of activities, with preaching stands set up in clearings all around the building. At some times as many as seven ministers were preaching at once. There was a great outpouring of emotion by these frontier people. Many lived for months at a time in wilderness clearings, see- ing only their immediate family, having to deal day to day with the most extraordinarily difficult labor one can imagine, and fearing the dangers of the deep forests. In the revival, they gathered together with more people than they had ever seen before, and the response was an explosion of human energy unrestrained by social custom or upbringing. Stone came away from the revival convinced of three things: First, if the gospel is to be preached properly and effectively, Chris- tians must learn that the church is and must be one, even as the Body of Christ is one. Second, the only way that Christians can ever be one is if differences of opinion and interpretation in matters of faith are respected. Third, all Christians must be encouraged to think for themselves, using the freedom which God has given to grow in un- derstanding and faith. Others were frightened by such a radical freedom of faith. Two years later, in 1803, Stone and four others were brought up on charges by their local Presbytery for going against the doctrines and practices of the Presbyterian Church. They reacted by withdrawing from the Presbytery and establishing their own, the Springfield Pres- bytery. But they soon realized that what they wanted to do was to become "Christians only." In a satiric document written tongue-in-cheek, Stone and his co- workers expressed their desire that the Springfield Presbytery "Die and sink into union with the body of Christ at large." In good fron- tier fashion, they criticized all types of formalism in religion, even the use of the term "Reverend" for ministers. In this "Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery" they argued that each con- gregation has the right to call its own minister, and they proclaimed their goal to base all decisions on the clear testimony of the New Testament. Slowly their movement spread, and new ideas emerged. By 1807 Stone decided that baptism should be by immersion, and the proper candidates were those who could make their own confessions of 4 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church faith. But this was not made a test of fellowship or membership in the Stone-led Christian Churches. After a brief sojourn in Tennessee, Stone returned to Kentucky where he served as a teacher. He continued to preach on a regular basis. He established his own monthly religious magazine in 1826. The Christian Messenger served as a valuable tool to spread the word of the Christian Church movement. Some years earlier he had learned of similar movements in New England and in the southern states of Virginia and North Carolina. Some of these churches came under Stone's leadership. Most of these eastern Christian Churches would, over a hundred years later, become part of the United Church of Christ. In the 1820s Stone and his followers began to hear of yet another reform movement on the frontier. Beginning in Western Pennsylva- nia, the panhandle of Virginia (now, West Virginia), and Eastern Ohio, the Reformers or Disciples who followed Thomas and Alex- ander Campbell had much in common with the Christians of Barton Stone. Thomas Campbell (1763-1854) was born in Northern Ireland and raised as an Anglican (Episcopalian). As a young man he became a member and then a minister of a very narrow, bigoted, divisive group called the Old Light, Anti-Burgher, Seceder, Scottish Presby- terian Church of Northern Ireland. He apparently came into this de- nomination through friendship with some members. He became unhappy with the sectarianism of his church, and even led a formal movement to begin to overcome some of the divisions represented by each word in the name of the denomination. In this effort he failed, and he soon thereafter sailed for the New World with plans to send for his family as soon as he was settled. Thomas was assigned to be a preacher and teacher in the frontier area of Western Pennsylvania. As he traveled about the region, he found Presbyterians who were not his kind of Presbyterians. For some of these people, it had been years since an ordained minister had visited and offered the sacraments. Thomas invited them to the Table. Some of the Seceder Presbyterians were offended by Thomas Campbell's willingness to share the Lord's Supper with the "unwor- thy." Just prior to being defrocked, Thomas Campbell resigned his appointment with his branch of the Presbyterians. From the Western Frontier to Eastern Carolina 5 Campbell organized a missionary society that was intended to be non-denominational, with a goal of taking Christianity to the newly opened land of Ohio, where as yet there were few signs of the deep divisions among Christians. He hoped to establish churches that would be simply Christian, not Presbyterian or Lutheran or Meth- odist. For this Christian Association of Washington County, Penn- sylvania, Thomas Campbell wrote a little book to present their cause. The Declaration and Address proclaimed that division in the church was wrong, sinful, and prevented the church from being ef- fective in proclaiming the gospel in all the world. In words that shaped what would become a new church movement, he said, "The Church of Christ upon earth is essentially, intentionally, and consti- tutionally one." Like Barton Stone, Thomas Campbell realized that the only way for Christians to be able to unite is to tolerate, even appreciate, dif- ferences of opinion and interpretation. Also like Stone, Campbell concluded that the Bible is fully sufficient in matters of faith, that creeds and confessions were used to divide Christians one from an- other. With this in mind, his followers stated, "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak. Where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent." Meanwhile, Thomas Campbell's family, left behind in Northern Ireland, had tried to sail in October of 1808 to join husband and fa- ther. But a storm and shipwreck off the Scottish coast led to a delay. Thomas' oldest son, Alexander (1788-1866), used the delay to study in his father's alma mater, the University of Glasgow. By the summer of 1809, as Alexander and his family were pre- paring to leave again for America, a service of the Lord's Supper created problems for the young theologian. The Presbyterians of the day required an examination of each candidate to receive communion to see if they were worthy. Those who passed muster, morally and doctrinally, were given a lead coin, a token, which would admit them to the service of the Table. On communion day Alexander went to church, his mind in tur- moil over much that he had learned. He particularly questioned the establishment of barriers between believers and the means of grace, the signs of forgiveness and reconciliation. When it was time for him to go forward, turn in his token, and receive Communion, he placed his coin on the Table and walked back to his seat. In effect, he had excommunicated himself from the church of which his father was a 6 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church minister. He did not know that much the same thing had just hap- pened to Thomas. When the Campbells were re-united, Alexander eagerly took up his father's cause, and devoted himself to rigorous study and prepa- ration to be a minister. They established a congregation, the Brush Run Church, and Alexander became a preacher along side his father. But their concerns were for the unity of Christians and the authority of Scripture. They knew that they could not properly be the church in one isolated little log cabin church in a clearing in Western Penn- sylvania. First they tried to relate to the larger, and more tolerant, branch of the Presbyterians, but that did not work. Meanwhile, fol- lowing their dependence on the New Testament, they had begun bap- tizing believers by immersion. And so local Baptists invited them to join with them, and they were allowed to do so without swearing to the usual Baptist Confession of Faith. Relationship with the Baptists gave the Campbell movement ac- cess to a large number of churches. Young Alexander quickly emerged as a brilliant thinker and preacher. In 1823 he began the publication of a monthly magazine called the Christian Baptist. This added to the growth of the Campbell movement. Meanwhile, many Baptist leaders, particularly preachers, ex- pressed concern about the Campbells. These frontier Baptists were people with limited educational opportunities. The Campbells were European born and educated, and were themselves teachers. These differences created suspicion in the minds of some Baptist preachers. Of greater importance was a difference in theology. The Camp- bells were deeply committed to the cause of Christian unity. Even though they practiced believers' baptism by immersion, as did the Baptists, their understanding of baptism differed from the Baptists. For the Baptists, baptism is a symbolic action done in obedience to the command of Jesus. For the Campbells, baptism is an act by which the forgiveness of God, the grace of God is communicated and made known. More than entry into the membership of a congregation, for the Campbells baptism means incorporation into the Kingdom of God, joining with God in a profound and life changing way. There were other differences as well, but the combination of so- cial class distinctions and theological disagreements led to a parting of the ways between the Campbells and the Baptists. Meanwhile, Alexander Campbell had met Barton Warren Stone, and it became clear to many that the two movements had much in From the Western Frontier to Eastern Carolina 7 common. On January 1 , 1832, a number of their followers in a meet- ing at Lexington, Kentucky, decided to join forces. The two groups, the Christians of Barton Stone and the Disciples of Christ led by the Campbells, joined to create a church of some 20,000 members. Over the period from 1832 to 1850, the denomination grew from 20,000 to about 150,000, and on to a million by the year 1900. From the beginning the Disciples were characterized by a num- ber of distinctive — though not unique — emphases. First was a com- mitment to Christian unity. It was this concern that made the Disciples appear quite odd in the contentious and sectarian atmo- sphere of American churches in the early nineteenth century. They believed that the only way to achieve unity was to respect and tol- erate differences of interpretation and opinion. As "Raccoon" John Smith put it at the union meeting of 1832, "'While there is but one faith, there may be ten thousand opinions; and hence, if Christians are ever to be one, they must be one in faith, and not in opinion.'" 2 In seeking a practical and workable way of achieving union among Christians with their many different practices and beliefs, Disciples leaders, like some other religious reformers of the day, looked to the New Testament, with the conviction that the New Tes- tament represents a common denominator among all Christians. If only, they thought, all Christians of all denominations would agree to require only that which is clearly taught in the New Testament, then there would be no reason to remain divided. By restoring the faith and practices of the New Testament church, it was believed, the Disciples could provide a basis for Christian unity. Thus the theme of "New Testament Christianity" or "Restora- tion of the New Testament Church," became one of the clarion calls of the Disciples. However, as will be seen, the twin themes of res- toration and unity were of their very nature bound to lead the move- ment to division. In addition to an emphasis on baptism by immersion as the most faithful expression of the teaching of the New Testament, the Disci- ples also tried to follow what they believed to be the New Testament form of the Lord's Supper. Their biblical studies led them to advo- cate weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper. After early debate, the Table was declared "open" to any and all Christians who believed themselves worthy participants. Their understanding of the meaning of the Lord's Supper was precisely that which had been taught in the Presbyterian churches out 8 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church of which Stone and the Campbells had come. The Lord's Supper was affirmed as a sign and symbol of the grace and love of God. In the Supper, the worshipper encounters the living Christ who presides as host at the Table. In sharing a common loaf which was broken, and a common cup into which wine had been poured, the church is re- minded that there is one body which was broken, so there should be one body called the church. A difference between the Disciples and most other Christian groups is the Disciples belief in the priesthood of all believers as a justification for laity to serve at the Lord's Table. Disciples said that the church has the authority to name any of its members to lead in worship at the Table. The right does not reside with the individual but with the congregation. From the beginning, however, the general practice was for elders to pray at the Table. As the Disciples grew, they moved to the west, and also to the east, over the mountains into Maryland and Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. In the fall of 1833 and continuing into 1834 Thomas Campbell, a man of seventy-one years, made a preaching tour of Eastern North Carolina, passing through Washington, and staying for some days in the spring around Pantego. From Raleigh to the coast the Disciples increased in strength. West of Raleigh growth was much more restrained. 3 In 1845 a major union took place in North Carolina between Dis- ciples and many Free Will Baptists of the Bethel Conference. A num- ber of Regular Baptists had already joined with the Disciples, thus giving a strong Baptist base to the development of the Disciples in the state. There had been meetings of churches from the earliest days of "Campbellite" activity in the state, as well as among the few Stone-related Christian churches. In 1857 a significant step towards organization was taken when a state convention and a constitution were accepted. The annual meetings were characterized by mutual support, dealing with issues of discipline and recognition of minis- ters, and fellowship, but little emphasis on missions. In 1877 that changed, with the formation of the North Carolina Christian Mis- sionary Convention. Henceforward, a program of evangelism within North Carolina and support of the national and international mission efforts of the Disciples were central. By 1880 there were Disciples living in Washington, but they were participating in churches in the countryside, particularly Old From the Western Frontier to Eastern Carolina 9 Ford and Athens Chapel. Beaufort County was one of the strongest centers of Disciples in the state, yet all the churches were in villages and rural areas. The Disciples were no longer a frontier church with little or no organization or structure to help them respond to needs. By this time the Disciples were well under the leadership of a second generation, and moving into a third generation. By the time the Disciples came to Washington, they had expe- rienced a rich and controversial history. And, as a denomination, they were maturing. By 1888, the Disciples had a number of national organizations. The American Christian Missionary Society, founded in 1849, had established a number of foreign and domestic missions. The Christian Woman's Board of Missions, established in 1874, had already become the largest and most active national group, with mis- sionaries in place in several foreign fields and numerous locations in the United States. The Foreign Christian Missionary Society, estab- lished in 1875, focused on missions abroad, and was beginning to make inroads in the name of the gospel. The National Benevolent Association, created by a group of women in St. Louis, was begin- ning what would become a major program of ministry to children and the elderly. The Board of Church Extension was helping churches arrange the financing to build their buildings. These and other organizations were providing the Disciples with a way to do ministry in an efficient and responsible way. More im- portantly, they allowed the thousands of Disciples and their congre- gations to express their participation in a movement that was also a church. The issue was not merely cooperation, though it was that, it was that they belonged to one family called a church, even though most of their experience of this family was in one congregation, one church within a church. And many of these congregations were able to come into existence because of the ministry of the other congre- gations and the national and state organizations. So it would be with the First Christian Church of Washington, North Carolina. 1 Currently, the best single book on the history of the Disciples in the United States is Lester G. McAllister and William E. Tucker, Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1975). 2 John Augustus Williams, Life of Elder John Smith, p. 453. 10 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 3 All references to early North Carolina Disciples history, unless oth- erwise indicated, come from Charles Crossfield Ware, North Carolina Dis- ciples of Christ (St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1927) and Charles Crossfield Ware, Tar Heel Disciples 1841-1852 (New Bern, NC: North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1942). Chapter Two Building A Church In 1883, Francis Marion Green, reporting in behalf of the Gen- eral Christian Missionary Society (a new name for the American Christian Missionary Society), told of his travels that year through Eastern North Carolina. He described Washington as an old town. Before the war it was a place of considerable busi- ness importance, but the war left it in ruins and it has not yet fully recovered its old-time importance. But there are signs of progress in and around it. The lethargy which has hung over it for years is being lifted and modern enterprise is sending new blood through it. 1 Green saw Washington as fertile ground for the establishing of a new church. He noted that Tar Heel Disciple leader James Latham Winfield lived in the town, and there edited the Watch Tower, a mag- azine of North Carolina Disciples. As for a congregation, "The Dis- ciples have no church in Washington yet, though a movement is now on foot which will soon result in a congregation." Green observed that except for Kinston and Wilson, no Disciples churches in the state were in large towns. Virtually all congregations were in rural sec- tions. He encouraged the Carolina readers: The time is now fully come when the Disciples should turn their attention to towns and villages and cities of the State. A good church in a thriving city of two thousand people, like Washington, is worth far more to the cause of Christ than one of equal size and wealth a dozen miles in the country. I shall look with interest to the success of the enterprise now inaugurated in Washington, and be- ing pushed by Brother Winfield and others. 2 There had been Disciples living in and around Washington for some years. As early as 1875 the proceedings of the Disciples state 11 12 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church W. J. Crumpler House — Where the Church was Organized in 1888 convention listed two Disciples ministers (H. O. Cutler and T. W. Whitley) in Washington, and presumably serving some of the several rural churches in Beaufort County. 3 The next year, 1876, a letter writer in the Watch Tower, named Seth B. Latham of Washington, encouraged readers to subscribe to this Disciples magazine. In 1877 there were several notices of Dis- ciples in Washington. R. T. Hodges of Washington was listed as the clerk for the First District Cooperation. Churches were encouraged to correspond with Hodges, reporting on their condition. Daniel M. Windley and W. J. Crumpler of Washington were listed as subscrib- ers to the newly combined publication, the Watch Tower and Chris- tian Woman's Worker. Almost certainly this was Walter J. Crumpler who would be one of the guiding lights behind the organization of the Washington church. 4 That same year, another resident of Washington, took North Carolina Disciples to task for their seriousness about missions and their bad habits. C. T. Woolard pled with readers of the Watch Tower: "If you had called to mind the vast amount of money that is now being and has been wasted by the Disciples, and how the cause of Christ is languishing, and of the good that even the money spent for tobacco would do." He condemned those who would frequent Building A Church 13 ball rooms. How can a Christian attend a dance and still be "unspot- ted"? Then he returned to the tobacco question, a brave (or foolish) stand in Eastern North Carolina: Does [the Bible] not condemn the use of tobacco? Are the black mouth, the stained shirt bosom, and the drenched church floor spots of the world or of godliness — which? 5 By 1888 enough Disciples were located in Washington to justify some form of action. J. L. Winfield noted that there were at least forty Disciples in Washington, and that they '"should by all means organize without delay."' Later that year these Disciples formed a Bible School in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Crumpler at 123 East Fourth Street. The group was assisted by two prominent early North Carolina ministers, James L. Winfield and Augustus Latham, Jr. Both gave leadership to these Disciples as their other responsibil- ities permitted. They met in the parlor of the Crumpler home until they outgrew that space. For a period of time the Bible school was housed in the Baptist church then on North Market Street. 6 Although it was not yet a church, this was the beginning of the First Christian Church of Washington, North Carolina. Washington in 1888 was a busy town by the standards of Eastern North Carolina, and it was on the verge of major change. As of that year, the only railroad through town was a small gauge line to bring lumber from tracts of land north and east of town to the river. Four years later the predecessor to the Atlantic Coast Line would lay track and bring regular railroad service. None of the streets were paved as yet. Main Street from Gladden to Market was given a regular topping of oyster shells, which, when pulverized by hoof and wheel, would form a hard surface. It would still be several years before John H. Small would be able to convince enough of the town's voters of the importance of education to lead the city to establish public schools. By 1888 a telephone company was in place, but there was no elec- tricity thus far. Some streets were lit by kerosene lamps attended each evening by a lamplighter. 7 The Bible School continued under the leadership of Walter Crumpler until the fall of 1891, when a congregation was organized and recognized by the North Carolina Christian Missionary Conven- tion. It is likely, however, that the action of being listed as a con- gregation by the state convention came some time after, perhaps as 14 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church much as a year after the young congregation had begun functioning as a church. Perhaps the best evidence for this is that a piece of property was purchased sometime during 1889-1890, an action of a congregation more than a Bible school. The lot, located on the corner of East Sec- ond and Telfair Streets, an area then known as McNair Towne was bought for $225. Pledges for a building were first taken in January of 1890 and totalled $648. R. W. Stancill, representing the state mis- sionary society, assisted with the building pledges. He reported to the 1890 State Convention that he had begun "an effort in Wash- ington which resulted in the purchase of a lot and the promise of lum- ber and shingles for a house of worship." 8 The establishment of the First Christian Church was a joint ef- fort of local Disciples and their fellow Christians in the district and state. At the 1890 state missionary society Convention, the Commit- tee on Evangelizing reported on their efforts for a church in Wash- ington. They called on the Pantego and Old Ford churches to contribute funds so that Dennis Wrighter Davis might be assigned there. They formally recommended that Davis "give one-fourth of his time to the general field until the house in Washington is ready for use, and that this body [the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society] pay $200 of his salary." The Convention agreed with the recommendation and voted to continue to support the work in Wash- ington. In the same meeting, Walter J. Crumpler was elected Vice President of the convention. 9 The officers of the State Convention followed up with their com- mitments. The Board of Managers of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society met in Washington on November 6, 1890, and helped with arrangements for Dennis W. Davis to serve with the Washington group. H. C. Bowen, Corresponding Secretary, re- ported: Bro. D. W. Davis informs me that he will move to Washington so soon as he can find a vacant house. In the meantime he will push forward the church-building enterprise as rapidly as possible. The work of the new year begins hopefully, let all be up and doing; we have no place for idlers. 10 Meanwhile, the churches in the area, organized as the Old Ford Union, recognized the church in Washington as a participating con- gregation, though perhaps as a "mission congregation," during their Building A Church 15 November 28, 1890, meeting in Williamston. This is a year before the formal enrollment of the Washington church at the state conven- tion. In August of 1891, the newly formed Roanoke Union, created by joining the Old Ford and Albemarle Unions, raised $37.73 for the Washington mission. 1 1 W. H. Stancill, present at the Union meeting in behalf of the State Missionary Society, presented a resolution that would have the Union meeting go beyond taking up a collection for the Washington church: Whereas: The church Building in Washington, N.C. is nearing completion and the brethren in that town desiring to complete the same by the time of the next State Convention, will most earnestly request that all the churches or individual members in the Roakoak [sic] Union use their greatest efforts to secure as large a contribu- tion as possible for the above mission work and carry it to the next Union and that the clerk prepare a letter and send to each congre- gation in the Union Meeting. Resolution reed, and adopted. 12 With the support of the State Missionary Society and the Dis- trict Union, the small group of Disciples in Washington grew, and made progress towards the completion of their church building. Hav- ing outgrown the Crumpler home and moved to the Baptist building on North Market, they also met as needed in other sites in the city, including, according to one memory, the courthouse. 13 At the 1891 meeting of the State Convention in New Bern, the First Christian Church of Washington was formally recognized and enrolled. During the business session on October 22, the church was listed as one of the Disciples churches of the state. In his report to the Convention, Dennis W. Davis, pastor for the Washington church and also field representative of the State Missionary Society, told of his activities for the previous year: Number of days spent in the field, 95. Sermons preached, 130. Additions, 128. Amount received, not including lumber for the Washington Church, $181.81. Soon after the last convention we began to get together the lumber for building a house of worship in Washington, N.C. The house is now inclosed [sic] — a frame build- ing 40x60 — and the wood work is nearing completion. We have organized a congregation with 60 members. They will meet in a hall until the church is ready for use. As all my work has been away from Washington, during the past year, the work there has 16 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church been slow. The brethren have decided to have preaching every Lord's day for another year, provided, however, they can get the necessary help. If there is a place in the State with prospects suf- ficient to justify help, it is surely this. With the assistance of three hundred dollars for another year, they will be able to complete their house and employ a man all his time, which will be abso- lutely necessary, in order to insure success. Upon a recommendation from the Board of Managers of the Mis- sionary Society, the Convention voted to continue to assist the Wash- ington church with $200 for preaching during the coming year. They also commended the Roanoke Union for its support of the new churches underway in Williamston and Washington. 14 In the statistical information listed with the minutes of the State Convention, the Washington church reported that as of October 1891 it was a congregation of sixty members, with $200 raised for their operations and $5.50 given for various forms of mission work. They announced a pledge of $12.00 for missions. 15 For a struggling con- gregation in an economically struggling community, and in a decade of national economic recessions and a depression, this was an im- pressive record. After 1891, there are no additional references of direct support by the State Convention for the Washington congregation, though the 1892 minutes do indicate some additional salary support for Den- nis W. Davis. This may well have been for his work at Washington, since it became his primary responsibility, though that is not speci- fied. By 1893, however, it is quite clear that the church had become self-supporting and a leading congregation for outreach in the state. When the First Christian Church of Washington was formally enrolled and recognized as a congregation of the Disciples in North Carolina, it became one of only a few churches in Washington. Pre- ceding the Disciples in Washington were the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics. Like many fron- tier towns of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Wash- ington had a parcel of land set aside for use by religious groups (and given by James Bonner). A church was built on this lot, at the corner of Main and Bonner Streets (now the site of St. Peter's Episcopal Church), and intended for the use of any religious group wanting to use the space. Visiting ministers to the town now had a "church" in which to preach, whereas before they had led services in homes or outdoors. 16 Building A Church 17 The Methodists were the first to have their own building. They had been organized during a visit by Bishop Francis Asbury in 1784. ( Asbury, disciple of Methodist founder John Wesley, was the guiding force behind the development of American Methodism.). In 1798 the Methodists built a little chapel at Market and Third Streets, on prop- erty that had been the home of Methodist pioneers Dempsey and Sa- rah Hinton. By this time the land was owned by Ralph Potts, and the chapel built on his lot came to be called Potts Chapel. The little church was dedicated by Bishop Asbury in 1802 or 1803. This con- gregation built on West Second Street in 1831, only to have their church burned during the Civil War. A new church was built soon after, to be replaced by a larger structure in 1898-99, the current home of the United Methodists in Washington. 17 The parish of St. Peter's Episcopal Church was begun in 1822. The Right Reverend John Stark Ravenscroft, first Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina consecrated their building in 1824. This church was also burned during the Civil War, and was rebuilt in 1867. Al- though there have been additions since then, notably the tower in 1893, the nave and sanctuary of the church continue today much as they have been for well over a hundred years. 18 The Presbyterians organized in 1823, and built in 1825. Among their founders were Jonathan Havens, Samuel R. Fowle, and such families as the Small woods, the Potts, the Telfairs, and the Pauls. The first building was burned by Federal troops as they fled the town in 1864. A new church was begun in 1867 and dedicated in 1871. The church bell was cast from half a ton of scrap metal collected by the women of the congregation. The material was shipped north to be made into a bell. The new bell was shipped home on the Cathe- rine Johnson which wrecked off Hatteras with all cargo lost except for the bell which washed ashore and was saved. The bell still rings over the city. 19 The Baptists organized in Washington the same year as the Pres- byterians. Their founder was a former Methodist minister, Jeremiah Mastin, who became a Baptist while attending the Tranter's Creek Baptist Church, now the Tranter's Creek Church of Christ (with his- toric connections to the First Christian Church). Mastin and twenty others received the support of the Tranter's Creek congregation to form a Baptist church in Washington. This church was formally rec- ognized by the Kehukee Baptist Association on October 5, 1822. Since the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodists either had or 18 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church were in the process of building their own buildings, the Baptists had virtually complete control of the community or free church building on Main and Bonner. In 1824, the simple structure was moved out of the way of the new St. Peter's building to a site on Market Street opposite the current City Hall (and former Federal Building and Post Office). In 1916-1917 the congregation built a new, much more ad- equate building on the corner of Main and Harvey. At the time that the Disciples were forming, the Baptists were in disarray due to con- flict and division, with only fifteen members still on the roll in 1893. 20 This is why the Disciples were able to arrange to use the Baptist facilities prior to the completion of their first building. It is likely that many of the initial converts to the Disciples came from this troubled Baptist congregation. Roman Catholics could be found among the town's early set- tlers, certainly by 1789. In 1821, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of North Carolina, John England, visited Washington and he encour- aged the small Catholic community to gather and support each other. A church was built and dedicated by Bishop England in 1829, one of the first Roman Catholic churches in North Carolina. This building was also burned by federal troops as they evacuated the city. It was rebuilt only to be torn down in the 1920s to make way for a highway. Soon after, St. Agnes Catholic Church was built through a bequest by a New York lay woman. The Mother of Mercy Mission and school began in 1927. This school became the first racially integrated school in Washington. 21 The first Missionary Baptist church in Washington was the Spring Garden Missionary Baptist Church for Colored of Washing- ton, established 1866-1867, meeting in the open under a large tree at Fifth and Respess Streets. For a while they worshipped in a small building on Fifth Street, and then moved to Gladden Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets. 22 Another Reconstruction Era Black church is the Beebe Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church now at the corner of Respess and Fifth Streets (where the Spring Garden Church had its start). This was the first Black Methodist church in North Carolina, and began in 1871 as the Christian Temple C.M.E. Church. It was founded by the Reverend J. A. Beebe with support from the members of the Methodist Church in Washington. 23 This was a time in American church history when churches that had been racially mixed found themselves becoming segregated. During the Civil War many Blacks were able to worship apart from Building A Church 19 their white owners, and they enjoyed the fruits of liberty in worship. With the end of slavery, new tensions between Blacks and whites re- sulted in Blacks choosing to build their own churches, often with the help of white Christians. Other Blacks found themselves forced out of the churches in which they had been raised. Several Black denom- inations were formed to join the few already in existence. Some de- nominations, such as the Disciples, saw a racially separate structure emerge within the larger denominational umbrella. The Eastern As- semblies churches of the Disciples, found primarily in North Caro- lina and Southeastern Virginia, developed apart from the white North Carolina Christian Missionary Society. Even today, with an intentionally integrated Regional and General structure, there are only modest contacts between Black and white Disciples congrega- tions. That is as true in Washington as anywhere else. Indeed, it is ironic that the same year that the First Christian Church was recognized by the State Convention, a Black Disciples church began in Washington. In 1891 it was announced at the Gen- eral Assembly of the Black Disciples that a lot for a church had been purchased on Seventh Street in Washington by Elder Satchwell. As is the custom with the Assemblies churches, the deed to the land was presented to the Assembly, which also agreed to pay off the indebt- edness on the property. By the next year the congregation, the Mt. Hebron Church of Christ, was in a simple frame building which would be replaced by a brick structure in 1938. 24 The first home of the First Christian Church was completed and dedicated on May 1, 1892. Dr. Henry Harper from the Christian Church in Kinston preached for the occasion, joined by Augustus Latham, M. S. Haskett, and J. L. Winfield. By the appointed hour for the service, 11:00 A.M., the church was filled beyond its antic- ipated capacity, so that late comers had to listen through open doors and windows. Some $500 was raised to help pay for the building. Several observers said that the communion service at the end of the dedication was the largest attended Disciples celebration of the Lord's Supper in North Carolina, at least to that time. John J. Harper reported From eye and ear witnesses I learned that the occasion of the ded- ication of the Christian Church in Washington, N.C., on the first Lord's day in this month was highly entertaining and enjoyable, and in all respects most satisfactory. The building is a frame struc- 20 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church ture well elevated and well proportioned, and beautifully and tastefully finished inside and out. The auditorium is forty by sixty feet giving ample accommodation for a large congregation. The house is well located in view of the probable growth of the city, easy of access, and inviting in appearances. 25 This classically designed, wooden frame church with a cupola topped by a weathervane fashioned as a cross, had come to be built through the assistance of Disciples from nearby churches and throughout the state as well as through the sacrifices of the growing number of members of the congregation. One member, A. B. Whit- ley, is reported to have put a mortgage on his home in order to pro- vide necessary cash for the building. 26 With a building in place, the congregation set about doing its work as a church. They had already taken their place as a contrib- uting member of the Roanoke Union. Just a month after state rec- ognition, J. A. Burgess and CM. Roberson represented the church at a November 28, 1891 meeting, and they brought with them a con- tribution of $5.00 for the work of the Union. 27 A revival was held just two weeks after the dedication. Evan- gelist L. A. Cutler reported on the meeting and its success: Our meeting began under auspicious circumstances. Dr. D. H. Harper preached Sunday morning to a crowded house. Many, un- able to procure seats or even standing room, went away. By request I spoke in the Town Hall at 3 P.M. on the liquor traffic and its di- sastrous consequences. The room was packed. At night I preached in our church to as many as could be accommodated. One confes- sion, a young man. Sunday afternoon we had a prayer meeting. Monday evening a full house. Tuesday evening church about full. ... At the close of our meeting four young persons, two la- dies and two gentlemen, confessed the Lord Jesus. We are antic- ipating great results from the faithful preaching of the word. 28 By the time of the fall, 1892, meeting of the State Convention, the church reported that in its first year with the Convention there had been twenty-two additions and a loss of three, for a net gain of nineteen and a membership of eighty-one. They had met their goal of $12.00 for state missions, and pledged an increase to fifteen dollars for the coming year. The Sunday School reported sixty-eight pupils and eight teachers, and a pledge of $5.00 for missions. 29 Building A Church 21 Dennis Wrighter Davis (1861-1912), the first settled pastor of Washington, served numerous churches both as minister and as evan- gelist for the state and district unions throughout Eastern North Carolina. He had studied at the College of the Bible (now Lexington Theological Seminary) 1886-1888, and came to the Washington church with a reputation as an outstanding preacher. George Hinton Crumpler, son of Jennie Latham and Walter Crumpler, remembered Davis as "One of the greatest pulpit orators ever to grace a pulpit and address an audience anywhere." He was also related to a Washington family: he was Mrs. S. F. Freeman's brother. (For many years Mrs. Freeman baked the communion bread for the church.) When Dennis Wrighter Davis died in 1912 at the age of 51 , he was survived by his wife and nine children. 30 By 1893 the church had grown significantly. T. W. Phillips re- ported to the Watch Tower that worship attendance had increased to over 120 for the morning service, 174 for the Sunday evening ser- vice, and 74 for the Wednesday evening prayer meeting. Member- ship stood at over 130, an increase of about fifty in six months. 31 A grateful congregation invited the 1893 State Convention of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society to meet in Wash- ington. Thanks to the newly arrived Atlantic Coast Line passenger service, Disciples from across the state were able to attend the Oc- tober 24-26 meeting. The Convention filled the church virtually each session. The local newspaper described the gathering as "prof- itable and interesting," and the results were positive. A goal of $250 for missions during the convention was reached. 32 Among the issues discussed during the convention were propos- als to enter into discussions for union with the Free Will Baptists. This was a continuation of a long-time relationship between North Carolina Disciples and Free Will Baptists, including a union of many Free Will Baptist churches with the Disciples in 1845. The conven- tion also called for support of a new college, the Carolina Christian College in Ay den. A major topic of discussion dealt with a desire to strengthen the state supervision of ministerial standing and supervi- sion of ordination. 33 From early in North Carolina Disciples history, ordination to ministry was understood as a partnership between the local congregation and the state- wide manifestation of the church. It was agreed that since ordination gives a minister credentials wher- ever he or she goes (only males among Disciples until 1888), it is important for the larger church to have a significant role in evaluat- 22 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church ing and approving those who receive ministerial standing. This strong stand offered some protection to trusting congregations. The delegates to the state convention must have been pleased with the planning and results of the meeting, for they elected as new officers and members of the Board of Managers a slate made up en- tirely of residents of Washington. Not all were members of the First Christian Church, though most were. James L. Winfield was elected president, and Augustus Latham vice-president. W. J. Crumpler was chosen recording secretary and T. W. Phillips as corresponding sec- retary. E. H. Whitley was made treasurer. Elected to the Board of Managers were: W. H. Stancill, D. W. Davis, O. K. Stilley, H. A. Latham, and E. B. Freeman. 34 The 1893 statistics showed the church to have added 68 new members during the year with a membership standing at 141 . $41 .55 was given to missions and $980 given for local work and expenses. The Sunday School reported 75 pupils and 12 teachers, one of the four largest in the state. 35 By the 1894 state convention, the church had grown to 158 members, and the Sunday School in Washington had given over half the total amount raised across the state by church schools for state and foreign missions. The Washington Sunday School was hailed as the "banner school." The next year the Sunday School repeated its efforts, giving $90.87 out of a total of $495.63 raised. Membership in 1895 stood at 184. 36 One of the reasons why the church began appearing so quickly among the lists of those churches most heavily supporting the mis- sion and evangelism tasks of the church had to do with the program- ming of the church. In 1893, for instance, Children's Day was observed through the Sunday School, with a collection of over forty- one dollars, a significant amount in the 1890s. Children's Day was one of the denomination- wide recognized missions offering days, and the church entered enthusiastically into this form of missions ed- ucation and stewardship development. The children of the church were given little "mite boxes" in which they were encouraged to save through the year. On Children's Day, each child that brought in at least a dollar was given some form of recognition, often a coin from one of the nations where the Disciples were engaged in mis- sionary work. 37 Using a carefully developed program of the Christian Woman's Board of Missions, the children's "Mission Band" was formed around 1893 under the leadership of Mrs. O. K. Stilley and Mary Building A Church 23 Burgess Latham. Ethel Gattis remembers that "funds were raised sufficient to educate a girl in India, paying her expenses for nine years. . . . After her graduation she went out as a missionary of her own country." The Mission Band then chose another Indian child to support. The organization had as its twin objectives teaching stew- ardship and teaching about the missionary work of the church. They made use of a publication of the Christian Woman's Board of Mis- sions, the King's Builder, a magazine designed for children and their education in missions. Here were provided resources for church pro- grams which the children presented before the congregation, thus al- lowing them to "feel that they were a part of the church and had a part to play." 38 Just as the women of the church provided for missionary and stewardship education for children, they also led the church through their organizations for women. The first of these was the Ladies Aid Society, created in February of 1893 during a meeting at the home of Mrs. James L. Winfield. Mrs. O. K. Stilley was elected president, Jane Burgess Randolph was chosen secretary, and Emily Latham was made treasurer. Dues were set at ten cents per month, and monies raised were to be used for local benevolent needs and to assist the church. Mrs. F. T. Phillips recalled, "It has been a joke during the life of the 'Aid' — if the men of the church needed money to pay a note, or whatnot — they would say, 'Let's call on the Ladies Aid.' " 39 The Ladies Aid met semi-monthly except during the summer, when they met once a month. By the fall of 1894 they claimed 39 members who were busy at work on a project to create a silk quilt as a fund raising project for missions. The secretary (at that time Jennie Gray Hodges) wrote all the Disciples ministers of the state asking them to send information on the churches they served. They would take this information — the name of the pastor, the number of mem- bers of the congregation, and the name of the church — and work this into a patch for a silk quilt. However, for a church to be included they had also to send at least one dollar for home missions. 40 In addition to the Ladies Aid Society, a number of the women of the church created an auxiliary to the Christian Woman's Board of Missions under the name of the Missionary Society of the First Christian Church. This was organized in November of 1893, with Jennie Latham Crumpler as the first president (she served until her death in 1907, when she was succeeded by Jane Randolph). The Mis- sionary Society included many of the women who were members of the Ladies Aid. The difference in the two organizations was that the 24 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church First church building completed 1891. Pen and ink drawing by Raymond L. Alexander Missionary Society focused on the cooperative mission work of the state and national Christian Woman's Board of Missions. The Soci- ety served to teach about the mission program of the Disciples and encourage not only support, but "a missionary spirit in the church and to establish a form of systematic giving among the women." In recalling the work of the Christian Woman's Board of Missions in its various manifestations — local, state, national and even interna- tional — Jane L. Randolph repeated the words of nineteenth century Disciples leader Thomas Munnell: "This is a flame of the Lord's kindling and no man can extinguish it.'" Emphasis was assuredly placed on the phrase, "no man." 41 In early 1895 Dennis Wrighter Davis concluded his ministry with the Washington church, though he remained in the city until the fall, apparently continuing with his work in behalf of the State Mis- Building A Church 25 sionary Society. He had come to Washington to bring a group of people functioning as a Bible School and help them become a con- gregation, a community of faith called church. He had accomplished that task and far more. The church had a significant and growing membership. Its budget was adequate for its needs and its support of the mission of the church in the wider world as a part of a denom- ination was increasing in impressive ways. The congregation was no longer a fledgling church, but a strong people ready to serve and bear witness to the gospel. 1 Francis Marion Green, "North Carolina Notes," Christian Standard (December 1, 1883), p. 452. 2 Ibid. 3 Watch Tower (November 1, 1875). 4 Watch Tower and Christian Woman's Worker (December 1876): 173; (June 1877): 327; and (August 1877): 382. 5 Watch Tower and Christian Woman's Worker (June 1877): 319-320. 6 Margaret Winfield, "Seventy Five Years of History," in 75th Anni- versary 1891-1966, First Christian Church, Washington, North Carolina (Washington, NC: First Christian Church, 1966), pp. [2-3]; B. Frank Leg- gett, "The Bible School," Gospel Light (November 1941). 7 Ursula Fogleman Loy and Pauline Marion Worthy, editors, Wash- ington and the Pamlico (Washington, NC: Washington-Beaufort County Bi- centennial Commission, 1976), pp. 66-71. 8 Margaret Winfield, "Seventy Five Years of History," pp. [2-3]; Hilda A. Bowen, "Memoirs of a Little Church no longer there," 75th An- niversary 1891-1966, First Christian Church, Washington, North Carolina (Washington, NC: First Christian Church, 1966), p. ; Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1890, p. 6. 9 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1890, pp. 2-4, 8. 10 H. C. Bowen, Missionary Weekly (November 20, 1890), p. 5. 11 Minutes of the Old Ford and Roanoke Unions, 1887 et seq., tran- scripts, Miscellany Discipliana Collection, Carolina Discipliana Collection, pp. 35-39. 12 Ibid. 13 C. O. Jordan, Program of the 50th Anniversary, Record Book 6, attached to page 21. 14 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1891, pp. 2, 6-7, 9. 26 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 15 Ibid. 16 Loy and Worthy, p. 297. 17 Ibid., pp. 297-298. 18 Ibid., pp. 298-299. 19 Ibid., p. 299. 20 Ibid., pp. 299-300. 21 Ibid., pp. 301-302. 22 Ibid., p. 303. 23 Ibid., p. 304. 24 William Joseph Barber, Disciple Assemblies of Eastern North Caro- lina (St. Louis: Printed as a private edition by Bethany Press, 1966), p. 85; Loy and Worthy, p. 304. 25 John J. Harper, "North Carolina Notes," Missionary Weekly (May 26, 1892), p. 1. 26 Gospel Light (February 1944). 27 Minutes of the Old Ford and Roanoke Unions, 1887 et seq., p. 40. 28 L. A. Cutler, Missionary Weekly (May 26, 1892), p. 8. 29 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1892, pp. 18, . 30 George Hinton Crumpler, "As I Remember," Gospel Light (No- vember 1941); Hilda A. Bowen, "A Large Family," manuscript of memoirs; Proceedings of the North Carolina Missionary Convention, 1912, p. 6. 31 T. W. Phillips, "Gleanings from the Field," Watch Tower (July 1893): 8. 32 Washington Progress (October 31, 1893). 33 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1893, pp. 11-14. 34 Ibid., p. 12. 35 Ibid., pp. 18, 22. 36 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1894, p. 13; 1895, pp. 13-14, 16. 37 T. W. Phillips, Watch Tower (June 1893): 8; G. H. Crumpler, "As I Remember.' ' 38 Ethel Gattis, "The Mission Band," Gospel Light (November 1941). 39 Mrs. F. T. Phillips, "The Ladies Aid Society of the First Christian Church," Gospel Light (November 1941). 40 Janie L. Burgess, "Church Aid Society of Washington," Watch Tower (October 15, 1894); Church files, printed sheet headed "Washington, N.C., March 31, 1894." Building A Church 27 41 Jane L. Randolph, "The Missionary Society of the First Christian Church," Gospel Light (November 1941); Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1895. 42 Watch Tower (October 1895): 4. Chapter Three Seeking an Identity From 1895 until 1900, a series of ministers served the First Christian Church of Washington. The historical records and memo- ries of members provide contradictions and blank spaces. According to some, Dennis Wrighter Davis was succeeded by his son, Dennis Warren Davis. It is likely that the memories of Dennis Warren Davis have been confused with Warren A. Davis, brother of Dennis Wrighter Davis and fellow minister. . The only Dennis Warren Davis about whom material is available was not born until 1901 . 1 The successor to Dennis Wrighter Davis in Washington appears to have been Charles "Charlie" R. Miller. Miller served churches in Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky as well as North Carolina. He at- tended the College of the Bible 1887-1891. He was in Washington very briefly, beginning on March 15, 1895. By August he reported that his work in Washington had been very successful and pleasant. . . . The church is in a harmonious and prosperous condition. I have been here not quite five months and during that time twenty-six members have been added to the congregation. ... I am watching every opportunity to increase and extend and deepen the spiritual influence of the church. A bright future is before us, and may God bless and help us to do our whole duty. 2 Soon after writing those optimistic words, Charlie Miller left the church to be replaced by John J. Harper. Why Miller left is not known. Harper came to Washington from Smithfield, arriving on November 22. Harper described Washington in late 1895 as a com- munity of about 6,000 inhabitants, and is the trade center for a large section of country. It is a busy thriving, growing town, with beautiful 29 30 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church streets and many handsome residences. The people, like most in eastern Carolina, are courteous, easily approached, hospitable and accommodating. 3 The people in Washington were delighted with their new minis- ter. He had a reputation as an effective preacher, and he had already ministered with large churches in North Carolina, including Wilson and Kinston. He had served as a state senator in 1881 , had been Pres- ident of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society several times, and would later become the second president of Atlantic Christian College (1904-1908). Harper was described as "a fine man, preacher and educator, stately and dignified." 4 While Harper was in Washington, the State Convention returned to the church for the second time in three years. The 1896 State Con- vention was highlighted by the presence of Archibald McLean as the keynote speaker. McLean was the Corresponding Secretary of the Foreign Christian Missionary Society. In his speeches he brought the issues as well as the colors and textures of the world-wide missionary activities of the Disciples before the people. Through pictures in words the participants in the Convention had their understanding of and support for the missionary task of the church strengthened. 5 As had been the case earlier, several state offices went to Wash- ingtonians: Walter J. Crumpler was elected President, Augustus Latham Vice-President, James L. Winfield Recording Secretary, and T. W. Phillips Treasurer. A. S. Kelly was chosen to serve as Corre- sponding Secretary. 6 The state Christian Woman's Board of Missions held its regular meeting as a part of the State Convention, meeting at least part of the time at the Baptist Church. A presentation on the work of the CWBM in Mexico was presented by Jennie Crumpler. 7 The Mexico mission represented a major new advance for the CWBM, and would lead them to initiate relationships with other denominations in "co- mity" agreements. These were agreements by which the various de- nominations agreed to divide up various mission fields so as not to duplicate efforts in the same geographical locations. As a sidelight, those denominations participating in comity agreements, namely the Disciples, Methodists, Congregationalists (now a part of the United Church of Christ), the Northern (now American) Baptists, and Pres- byterians, essentially recognized each other as fully authentic and faithful churches through recognizing the geographical validity of Seeking an Identity 31 their mission territory. This was a major step towards the ecumenical movement of the twentieth century. 8 Issues dealt with at the 1896 Convention included a concern that the church and Sunday schools of the Disciples be careful about choosing literature and hymnals. All were encouraged to give pref- erence to Disciples produced literature and hymnals "which con- tained correct Scriptural teaching." Among the hymnals already recommended was Popular Hymns, which had the support of the State Convention as early as 1886. It is likely that this was the first hymnal used in the Washington church. 9 The primary social issue discussed at the 1896 Convention was prohibition, with the Convention strongly supporting the anti- alcohol movement. A resolution was approved stating that the Dis- ciples "believe in the Prohibition by law of the manufacture, sale and importation of all alcoholic beverages, and that we favor the election of clean, temperate men to office, who will work for the suppression of this iniquitous traffic." 10 The First Christian Church of Washington had been enrolled as a new congregation just five years before this Convention. By 1896 they reported to the Convention a membership of 192 and twenty- five dollars given to state missions — second highest in the state — and the same amount to foreign missions, the most of any congregation. 11 John J. Harper closed his ministry in Washington in late 1896, and was succeeded by Malcolmson Pittman who arrived in time for Christmas. The congregation welcomed the Pittmans with a "severe pounding from the great and small of the congregation." This friendly "pounding" resulted in filled larders and a sense of belong- ing: "We find our lines fallen in pleasant places." He was so de- lighted with his new situation that he wrote for the Christian Standard a description of the area every bit as appealing as that done by Harper just two years earlier: Our city has nearly eight thousand population. Farming land can be had cheap, and if some of our Northern or Western brethren wishing to find a good place for business would come this way, suitable inducements would be offered, I feel sure. We are located on the Pamlico River, as pretty stream of water as I ever saw. The Old Dominion Steamship Company, of New York, run several of their splendid steamers to our city. We have a daily and several 32 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church weekly papers and one religious paper, The Watch Tower (Chris- tian), published here. So if this should fall under the eye of any member of the Christian Church wishing to come to a delightful summer climate, drop a letter and enclose a stamp and we will take pleasure in answering any questions. 12 Pittman came to Washington from Troy, New York, and during his ministry the debt was paid on the first church. He was described as "an excellent preacher, organizer and indefatigable worker." By March 1 he was reporting on activities at the church through the Watch Tower. Some of his primary attention was given to the estab- lishment of a youth program under the general guidance of the Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor, an ecumenical youth ministry conducted separately by each denomination participating. 13 At the 1897 State Convention the Disciples of North Carolina followed the lead of the Washington church (and a few other con- gregations), and established a state Christian Endeavor program. The Washington Church had 160 members in its Christian Endeavor program, easily outdistancing by double the next largest local soci- ety. By 1898 Walter J. Crumpler had been elected Vice-President of the State Union of Christian Endeavor Societies, the ecumenical arm of the program. Meanwhile, Malcolmson Pittman had been chosen State Superintendent of the Disciples and Jane Burgess of Washing- ton had been elected Secretary-Treasurer. 14 Pittman also expressed interest in the life of the Black Disciples church in Washington and throughout Eastern North Carolina. Soon after his arrival in Washington he came to know the local Black lead- ership, and reported on his findings through the Christian Standard: It may be of interest to know that the negroes have a separate State organization from the whites. I have gathered a few items from the popular pastor of the Colored Christian Church at Washington. He reports eight thousand colored disciples in the state, with two State Conventions, Eastern and Western. ... He serves the churches at Lake Comfort, Shiloh, E[lizabeth] City and Washington. . . . The Colored Church in Washington has forty members zealous in Christ's work, a good prayer-meeting and Sunday-school. P. S. Satchel is Superintendent. The pastor, B. J. Gregory, is full of zeal. 15 The next three years are a time of little information, but with hints of difficulties and even chaos. Sometime after the October, Seeking an Identity 33 1898, State Convention, Malcolmson Pittman left the church, ac- cepting a call from the Disciples congregation in Elizabeth City. Sev- eral ministers are remembered during this time, but with no certainty as to their period of service, or even if some were interim pastors. The seriousness of what happened can be seen in church statistics. At the 1898 Convention the church reported a membership of 232, and the church tied for first in giving to state missions, gave the most for home missions, and was second in support of foreign missions. Sun- day School and CWBM statistics also placed the church in a lead- ership position in the state. This was the report of a strong, healthy church. By the 1899 Convention, however, the membership was down to 125, and giving was significantly lower except for the Sun- day School. 16 It may be that Pittman was the one in conflict. Yet another brief incumbent is remembered. J. W. MacNamara almost certainly fol- lowed Pittman, though this is not known with certainty. What is clear is that MacNamara, like Miller three years earlier, served a very short tenure. It is equally possible that a succession of extremely brief ministries, or brief interim ministries, distressed the young congregation, resulting in the rapid loss of membership. All of this is speculation occasioned by a lack of data about what happened. 17 James W. MacNamara was born about 1852 in Ireland, of Scot- tish parents. He came to the United States at the age of fourteen, and made his way south from Boston to Georgia. His athletic skills, par- ticularly in baseball, resulted in his friends and teammates sending him to Transylvania and the College of the Bible. He graduated with honors, having learned some seven languages. He became a minister and served as a state evangelist for Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Flor- ida. He served churches in Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia, as well as a short ministry in Washington. Presumably he was already mar- ried to Florida Fort MacNamara while in Washington. The couple had five children. 18 MacNamara was described as "a strong preacher of the old Je- rusalem gospel." He could also have been described as a medical entrepreneur. To add to his income, he became a practitioner of hy- drotherapy, mechanotherapy and osteopathy. While serving in a church in Salt Lake City, he created the MacNamara Institute of Magnetic Healing. It is not surprising that he chose to serve churches in Florida and then retire there, a land of many opportunities for "creative" medicine. 19 34 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Sometime in 1899, or at the very beginning of 1900, Harry A. Blake was called to serve the church. Hilda Bowen dates his presence in 1900 as the presiding minister at her aunt's wedding. The Blakes did not stay long, because soon after their arrival they suffered the loss of their little Martha Elizabeth .... The loss of their baby was such a shock to them that they soon relinquished the work. He was a very handsome man with bushy red hair and a good speaker. 20 After the departure of the Blakes, Joseph Daniel Waters (1870- 1962) was invited to lead a revival at the church in October, and with good results. One of the local papers said, "We have heard Rev. J. D. Waters, who is conducting a meeting at the Disciples church, very highly spoken of. Go to hear him." A few days later the same paper reported "The attendance is large and much interest is shown. There has been a large number added to the church." By the end of the two week revival, it was announced that seventeen had been bap- tized along with three transfers. "Mr. Waters," it was said, "made a fine impression upon the audience." 21 Before another two weeks passed, Joseph D. Waters had been called to the church to serve as minister. Waters later recalled that it was in the fall of 1900, following a revival that I held there, that I was called to the church. I served the church in a happy fellow- ship for two years until I was called by the State Board to serve as State Evangelist and State Secrcetary [sic]. In a life of ministry spanning seven decades, Waters would serve churches in seven states. But his days in Washington remained in his heart, as he returned to Washington in 1914 to marry Cornelia Marcuson. 22 When Waters arrived in Washington, the membership stood at 146 members with a Sunday School of 90 pupils and twelve officers and teachers. By the end of his first year, the membership had grown to 167, and reached 190 by the time he had left, a 37% increase in just two years. There is little wonder that after Waters' first year of service, he was called to serve another year at the grand salary of $10.00 per week. 23 Seeking an Identity 35 When Waters took office the church was led by an Official Board composed of four elders: Joseph B. Latham, Thomas W. Phil- lips, A. B. Whitley, and Aaron H. Wilkinson. There were also four deacons: W. J. Crumpler, George W. Lewis, Noah R. Robinson, and George W. Lewis. Phillips was chair of the Board, Crumpler was treasurer, and Gilbert S. Buck was church clerk, while W. D. Sin- gleton was clerk — or secretary — to the Board. 24 The Board was the chief authority for the church in all matters, turning to the congregation to approve major expenditures (for ex- ample, the purchase of property), election of officers (with the Board serving as a nominating committee), and to confirm the call of a minister. The Board met monthly, with frequent called meetings. For years they met at the office of Walter J. Crumpler. Election as elder or deacon was for life, unless a person resigned, retired, or was removed by Board and congregational action. Every bill had to be presented to the Board for approval before payment could be made. One of the more extreme examples of this can be seen in a called meeting of the Board on April 19, 1914, where the entire record of the meeting states: "A called meeting was held on the above date, Bro. Dan Taylor asked that two footmatts [sic] be bought for the church. Bro. A. C. Harrison was appointed to buy them." 25 The tenure of J. D. Waters was a time of steady growth for the church. That same growth and maturing could also be seen on the state level for Disciples. At the 1901 State Convention the Disciples of North Carolina passed a resolution authorizing the establishment of a college, which would result in the opening of Atlantic Christian College in Wilson in 1902. The resolution came from a committee on which both Walter J. Crumpler and D. W. Davis served. 26 Hence- forward there would be a strong connection between the college and the First Christian Church of Washington. The college supplied min- isters, youth leaders, speakers for special occasions, education for youth, resources and facilities for youth and adult meetings. The church responded with funds, trustees, and students. It has been suggested that Joseph Waters was succeeded by John W. McGarvey and then A. B. Cunningham. 27 However, if J. W. Mc- Garvey (Junior or Senior) were ever in Washington, it was certainly only for pulpit supply or possibly a revival during the period around 1902-1903. And another minister served for two years before Cun- ningham appeared on the scene. 36 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church J. Merritt Owen (d. 1919) arrived in January of 1903, shortly after graduating from the College of the Bible. While in Washington he returned to Lexington, Kentucky, to marry Katie Lemmon. Dur- ing their lives together they had three children. Owen also served as associate editor of the Watch Tower. His work in both arenas soon earned him high marks. H. C. Bowen described him as a minister "justly held in high esteem by all. He is doing a splendid work as is evident in many ways. The church has increased his salary [as of February 1904] and is giving him that encouragement which will stimulate him to do his very best." 28 By the time Merritt Owen arrived, the town had continued its eastward growth, and instead of being on the edge of town, the church was now in the midst of an area of middle class homes with easy access to the heart of the town. Watch Tower editor H. C. Bo- wen described it as "a church without any very wealthy members, which has built a house and supported regular preaching for several years. All seem to feel at home. They sing the old songs and are a happy, united people in the work and worship of the Lord." And it continued to be a church that remembered the help which others had given to allow it to be born: What the Disciples have accomplished in Washington within the last few years can be duplicated in many other towns by good man- agement and zealous work. They stand ready to give willing and generous help to any such enterprise in which the brethren may decide to engage. 29 Owen led the church in participating in an international ecu- menical call for a week of prayer and pulpit exchange. The first week of January, 1904, was set aside for the community event. "Each preacher was thus given an opportunity to preach from the pulpit of another church." Merritt Owen reported, My turn came on Friday night of that week, and the service was held in the Methodist church. The weather was quite inclement all week, yet a fair representation from each church attended all the services. . . . The fraternal spirit was in evidence at all times. The old spirit of prejudice seems to be slowly and stubbornly giving way, and the Christ-like spirit of brotherly love is gradually gain- ing ground. This is a sure step toward Christian union. 30 Seeking an Identity 37 This was but the first act, at least the first known act, of a long line of ecumenical activities by the churches of Washington, with First Christian Church acting out of its Disciples commitment to Christian unity. Owen's first year as minister went well, but not everything was sweetness and light. In August of 1903 a called meeting of the Board resulted in a decision to ask W. E. Stubbs, Board Chair and deacon to resign his positions. No reason is given, though he had missed three of the previous five meetings. It is likely that not all meetings were recorded in the record book, which could mean either more missed, or some attended. Stubbs resigned, and was replaced as chair by T. W. Phillips. 31 It was not at all unheard of for a church board to exercise dis- cipline with its members. Those who held office were expected to follow through with their responsibilities, or face removal. This in- cluded the non-payment of pledges. And members were regularly dealt with on issues of morality, quarrelsomeness, and even disobe- dience. This was standard practice among Disciples of the day, and they were considered extremely tolerant by other denominations who would excommunicate members for expressing ideas in conflict with their denominational doctrines. In November of 1903, several young members of the church were discussed, with concern for their "unbecoming conduct." The elders were asked "to wait on" the seven in hopes of correcting their behavior without further action by the Board. They were apparently successful, as there are no follow up visits recorded, unless the fol- lowing entries of February 9 and 29 dealt with the same people: "Unbecoming conduct having been observed among some of the members, the Elders were asked to wait on them." And three weeks later: "Committes [sic] asked to wait on members for various of- fences made a favorable report." In March a matter of discipline and order in worship services was raised, with a decision to begin pro- ceedings: "Order during service was brought before the board, and legal means decided to be adopted as all others seem to fail." It is entirely possible that this referred to the announcement of rules of behavior, or simply a reading of the "riot act" to misbehaving members. 32 It was one thing to chastise young people, it was another to chal- lenge the patriarch of the church. On July 12, 1904, "The condition of our late Deacon and Treasurer W. J. Crumpler was discussed. The 38 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church elders were asked to visit him and consided [sic, read consider] the adviseability [sic] of withdrawing from him, and to report next meet- ing." The phrase "withdrawing from him" meant that they were considering excommunicating him. Nothing is ever cited in the min- utes as to the cause of their disgruntlement, but it was surely a se- rious matter. The case does not appear again in the minutes. 33 A more common form of discipline occurred in a series of Board meetings in 1907. In March "Bro. Woolard reported the misconduct by Sister Aida Pipkin, she having been a participant in a dance held in the armory last week. The Elders was [sic] asked to call on her and report." In September the Board again addressed charges against one of their own: "There was [sic] charges made against J. B. Latham as follows[:] The use of foul or bad language and not paying on his debts. The charges was [sic] made by E. H. Whitley." Two weeks later Latham was brought to trial before the Board. J. B. Latham plead guilty of telling jokes for yarns. This being one charged perferred [sic]. J. B. Latham admits that he owes some accts. that have been standing for some time but he deny [sic] the fact that they will not be paid and the last charg [sic] but not least he also flatly denies that he is seriously handycaping [sic] the work by his retention as and [sic] elder at Lord's table. The evidence of E. H. Whitley was heard and no further business Board mooved [sic] to adjourn to meet after the evening survace [sic]. When the meeting resumed later that night, "the matter was dis- cussed in detail concerning J. B. Latham, and put to a vote and was carried by three voted not guilty." 34 One lengthy case finally resulted in a decision to exclude or ex- communicate. On October 15, 1905, "The Elders were asked to call on Raleigh Grumpier & Lewis Pipkin and get statement from them relative to their recent conduct and report at next meeting." From the tone of the entry, it would appear that whatever the two had done had been or had become a matter of public knowledge. In November, "A. B. Whitley reported having seen Raleigh Crumpler and urged him to attend divine services and to live a more Consecrated Chris- tian life." At the same meeting, "Bro Lewis Pipkin appeared before the Board and his recent conduct was discussed quite lengthy [sic] he gave the board a promise to be more regular in attending our Church services, and to endeavor to use his best efforts to conform with the Seeking an Identity 39 obligation he has taken." There is no further entry until five months later, on April 8, 1906, when "it was moved and carried the Board reccommend [sic] that the Church withdraw from Bro. Lewis Pipkin, his Conduct having been of a nature unbecoming a Christian." 35 The last entry, that of a recommendation "that the Church withdraw" would appear to mean that while the Elders would investigate, en- courage, chastise, and warn, and the Board would try a case, only the congregation could actually excommunicate a member. Unfortu- nately, congregational decisions were rarely recorded in the minutes. A growing congregation meant increasing demands on the church building. An opportunity to improve the sanctuary came in 1904 with the bequest from Gilbert (Gibb) S. Buck in the amount of $250. Buck had been a leader in the church, and had served as Church Clerk until 1902, when he moved away from Washington. His family agreed that a choir loft would be an appropriate memo- rial, and asked that a marble tablet be placed in the choir loft to re- mind all who saw it of the gift that had made its construction possible. When the new church was built across the street, the mar- ble plaque was moved into the new facility so that the original gift could continue in the memory of the congregation. 36 Meanwhile, church leaders had already started contemplating the need for new space. In the spring of 1903 the Board made a de- cision to enlarge the building, and appointed a building committee to make appropriate plans. These ideas appear to have died in the wake of a period of financial difficulty. The only major improvement made was the addition of the choir loft, and even with the Buck bequest to provide the primary cost, it would be another three years before this project would be completed. When finished, it was a ten by fifteen foot platform to the side of the pulpit, in the right hand corner of the church. There would be no further effort to address the issue of space for ten years. 37 In January of 1904 a growing deficit led the Board to recom- mend to the congregation the election of an additional elder. By the end of February matters had not improved, and the Board decided to collect on unpaid pledges. The deacons were instructed to hire a bill collector to raise funds for the current expenses of the church, paying the collector a ten percent commission. Some relief was achieved, but as a meeting of the Board on May 31 , Merritt Owen "gave due notice that unless some great amendment was made in the financial 40 Disciples dn the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church condition of affairs that his services would discontinue after Aug. 1st. No definite plans were made toward this end." 38 In the midst of this financial crisis, the Board did as had been done ten years earlier in raising funds for the church building, and as would be done again many times over in the future, the men turned to the women for assistance. On July 12, 1904, the Board officially asked the women of the church to help in paying off the accumulated debt of the church. The women apparently came to the rescue of the church, as there is no further reference to a financial crisis in the minutes of the next several months. By February 1905, however, fi- nancial woes appeared again. The Board asked Julia E. Burgess to take charge of the list of pledges and seek payment from members. In addition, the church clerk was asked to prepare a list of church mem- bers who were not attending services so that the Board members and the minister might be able "to urge them to attend, and not only give us their presence but their means which are so badly needed, and thus build up our congregation." The financial difficulties created problems for the pastor. "The Board appreciating the financial con- dition of the church and realizing our worthy pastor must be paid, voluntarily raised in cash $21.50, which amount was paid over to him." 39 While struggling financially, the church continued to rebound from its decline during the late 1890s. In June 1904, Dr. J. C. Cog- gins began a two week long revival resulting in nineteen new mem- bers. In typical Disciples fashion, Coggins presented the Christian faith in a manner that was both clear and forthright and also logical and thoughtful. The Watch Tower reported on the revival, saying that the attendance had been strong despite bad weather: The doctor is preaching in his characteristic way. His sermons are strong, eloquent, and forcible. He is bringing out of the sacred treasure of the gospel things both new and old. By his clear think- ing he often startles us by turning a flood of light on old truths and hitherto mysterious passages. His appeals to sinners are strong and convincing. His exhortations and teachings for Christians are stimulating to the mind and heart, and are well calculated to build them up and make them strong in Christ. His teachings are so clear and simple that the child and illiterate mind can comprehend them, yet they are so logical, practical and philosophical that they pro- voke thought in the profound scholars. We hope much for a great meeting. On to victory! 40 Seeking an Identity 41 The church renewed its commitment to the missionary work of the Disciples. The Board in this regard saw a responsibility to allow their capable minister to serve young and struggling churches in the area. In 1903 they adopted a policy of unusual generosity in sharing the time of their minister: Whereas, there is a great and increasing demand for the preaching of the simple gospel of Christ in all parts of our Beloved Land, and Whereas, we recognize the splendid results which have every- where attended the preaching of the truth by our faithful ministers during the past year, Be it therefore resolved by the Church of Christ worshiping at Washington N.C. that the congregation re- comend to its minister the holding of a series of evangelistic ser- vices either at home or at some needy points at some time during the year, and that this congregation hereby pledges itself to support in every way the efforts of its minister to make this the crowning year of its existence in the work of soul-saving. Be it further Re- solved, that during the absence of our minister in such missionary evangelistic work, this congregation agrees to supply his pulpit and to pay his salary and necessary traveling expenses during his Absence, [sic on punctuation, capitalization, and spelling through- out the quotation] 41 During the height of the financial struggles of the church to pay its current bills, the congregation did continue to provide leadership to the entire state in support of the missionary program of the Dis- ciples. It was reported in March of 1904 that the Washington church had given more to state work since the fall State Convention than any other congregation. Merritt Owen explained that he had been empha- sizing mission support in both morning and evening services. "We talked missions, we preached missions, we prayed for missions, and we worked hard for missions.' ' He preached two or three sermons on missions in January of that year, distributed materials from the Dis- ciples Foreign Christian Missionary Society, and sent a letter to each member of the church giving them the facts and details of their de- nominational mission work. He noted that "one lady said that she felt like giving everything that she had. That's what I was aiming to do." He complained that ministers have to beg and plead for "the small pittance of fifty or seventy-five cents to save an immortal soul from death," while folks will "spend eight or ten dollars for a hat." He did not mind if forceful preaching bothered some people. 42 42 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church In addition to denominational missions work, the church moved to be more systematic and intentional in its efforts to serve the Wash- ington community. In a meeting of October 13, 1904, the Board de- cided to recommend to the church that a committee "be appointed whose duty shall be to assist in cases of distress regardless of Church affiliation. They shall be known as a relief commity [sic] of the Church of Christ." (Until the middle of the twentieth century, it was not at all unusual for a Disciples congregation to refer to itself as "Church of Christ" as well as "Christian Church.") Part of the rec- ommendation was that the committee be composed of five members living in different parts of the city, so that they would be likely to know more about the needs of the various areas of the community. There were two unusual aspects of this action. First of all, this was presented to the congregation for approval, indicating the serious- ness by which the Board held the work of the proposed committee. Secondly, when approved by the congregation, the committee as appointed included two women, a first for a committee of the Offi- cial Board. Those named to the committee were: A. B. Whitley, G. W. Lewis, Bartemus Woolard, Annie L. Woolard, and Edith Campbell. 43 Although Disciples began ordaining women to Christian minis- try about 1888, and even though women were leading in missions with the Christian Woman's Board of Missions and the National Be- nevolent Association, it was still very unusual to have women serv- ing with men on committees of local churches. This action by the First Christian Church of Washington placed it among the most pro- gressive of Disciples churches of that day. And, this also represents another step in a long history of commitment by the congregation to the basic needs of people in the community. Not everyone approved of a minister's emphasis on missions. S. K. Ingalls of Washington (though it is not certain that he was a member of First Christian), wrote a sarcastic letter to the editor of the Watch Tower about ministers and missions and money in 1905. With tongue firmly in cheek, he asked: Is it anymore sin to raise tobacco, chew, or sell it, than it is for preachers to harp for missions on every term, then Paul says the love of money is the root of all evil? Finally, how many preachers can say that they don't love it? Speak out, if any. Take this in view: the Christian man who gives his money for tobacco is trading off Seeking an Identity 43 evil for what he has lost, the love he had for his money. I think if we listen to some of the preachers [as to] what to raise, they will say stock-raising is the most profit of any. Well, we all like the fatted calf and chicken; so do most of the preachers. Hope you won't get worried at this. They think if [they] can get the farmers out of the notion to raise tobacco, it will raise stock or poultry in- stead, and there is a ready shilling or two on their arrival. I come on line with the preachers as to keeping tobacco out of the church. What does God say about it? When he says he created every herb, and all was good, is tobacco left out or not? . . . The cry of the church today is money; money for this and money for that; more money for everything. . . . Just think of how the young preachers of today got their first start. It was from this plant called to- bacco. ... If the farmers did not pay the preachers with tobacco money, they would soon be wearing patched clothes. 44 There may well have been others who shared such an anti-missions perspective, but in the First Christian Church of Washington, their influence was small. Under Merritt Owen's leadership the church continued to em- phasize a strong youth program. Owen wrote of the importance of the youth in an article in the Watch Tower: What boundless possibilities are within the reach of youth! As their energies are exhaustless, so also are their possibilities. If this outflow of youthful vigor cannot be suppressed, it can be con- trolled. If directed in the channels of righteousness it will become an irresistible power in the world for Christ. But if satanic forces direct it, then destruction to manhood, to home and happiness, will be the sad terminus. But, thanks be to the wisdom and providence of God, we are awakening to a full realization of this great fact. The children are being enlisted for Christ. Their boundless enthusiasm is being di- rected in the work of world-wide evangelization. They are being taught that the highest joy is found in the service of humanity. Once taught to know Christ, and their love of service for Him be- comes divinely beautiful. 45 As an example of what can be done with the youth in the church, Owen reported on the Easter evening worship service at Washington which was led by the children and youth of the church. Under the leadership of Julia Burgess and Edith Campbell, a program was pre- 44 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church sented which Owen described as "the richest and best-rendered I have ever seen by the children." And, "to crown it all the already charmed audience was completely captivated by a solo sung by little Etta Lee Campbell, only six years old." Prophetically Owen com- mented, "I think we have some of the best material here for our fu- ture church that I know of. Already their influence is becoming great. They are rapidly taking the lead." 46 In the fall of 1904 the church again hosted the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. The church reported a member- ship of 198, and 125 Sunday School students. The Christian Wom- an's Board of Missions chapter claimed 21 members, and the Young People's Department of the CWBM had 57 members, the second largest youth program in the state. The church led the state in sup- port of foreign missions, and was second in giving to the state pro- gram. The Sunday School offering was also second largest in the state, while the CWBM giving was third and the Youth Department fourth. 47 The Convention again turned to Washington for leadership in a number of areas. Pastor Merritt Owen was named to a committee to work on improving Sunday School work throughout the state, and also to organize a state-wide Sunday School convention. S. F. Free- man was elected to the board of trustees of Atlantic Christian Col- lege. Jennie Crumpler was re-elected to the State Board of the Christian Woman's Board of Missions. 48 After a busy two years as minister, Merritt Owen left Washing- ton in June of 1905. It was suggested that he resigned on account of health reasons, and in 1904 it had been reported that he was having serious trouble with his eyes. However, he did move from Washing- ton to serve another church in either Kentucky or Indiana. It had been a roller-coaster ride, including growth, financial crisis, discipline problems, strengthening of the internal organization of the church, and hosting a State Convention. In addition to serving as pastor to an active church, Owen had been an associate editor of the Watch Tower, served on district and state committees, and led revivals in numerous churches. 49 Albert B. Cunningham (b. 1858), a graduate of Wabash College and an experienced minister, came to Washington in early fall of 1905. He was married to Nettie Elliott, and the couple had two chil- dren. He came to Washington from Tiffin, Ohio, and was promised a salary of one thousand dollars. Soon after he arrived, the Board Seeking an Identity 45 expressed appreciation for the role of the State Secretary of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society, J. B. Jones, in helping them to call Cunningham. The Church Clerk was instructed to write Jones "setting forth our sincere thanks for his efforts towards us in securing the most excellent Pastor we now have." 50 Cunningham received high marks as a preacher and leader. George Hinton Crumpler would remember Cunningham as "one of the ablest men who ever served the church." The State Secretary re- ported in 1907 that he heard one person say: We have a man in the Washington pulpit of whom we are never ashamed. No matter who comes to our services or when, we are not afraid that the cause will be injured or disgraced. Bro. Cun- ningham always preaches with great credit to himself and to the cause he represents. Soon after coming to Washington Cunningham was elected to the Board of Trustees of Atlantic Christian College, and was a guest preacher at the college. 51 The place of music in the worship of the congregation received emphasis during Cunningham's ministry. An article in one of the Washington newspapers reported that "the congregation and all the members of the church are elated over the music. The choir uses an organ in the morning and a piano at the night service. Miss Bettie Burgess is the organist at the morning service and Miss Clara Kelly at night." But in addition to the music, the sermons of A. B. Cun- ningham were bringing attention to the church. "If the present rate of attendance keeps up, the church will have to be enlarged, as Rev. Mr. Cunningham, the pastor, is preaching strong sermons." 52 If adding to the building was not possible, the congregation found that it could at least make the church more attractive and ap- pealing. The Board agreed in September 1907 to spend $1,455 for new carpeting and other renovations. They also agreed to consider repairs on the church furnace before cold weather arrived. 53 These were heady sums for a congregation composed primarily of workers and small merchants and their families. Financial difficulties continued to hound the church. In Febru- ary of 1906, F. P. Whitley was appointed as church collector, to be paid a dollar a day for his services. Two weeks later he reported that he had been unable to raise any funds for the church due to other 46 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church commitments. A. B. Whitley was then appointed in his place. A scheme was discussed by which a poster would be made listing the entire membership of the church, with each family or person con- tributing on a particular Sunday to be marked with a brass tack. 54 What appeared to be a good way to encourage reluctant donors to do their share turned out to be an embarrassment to members who were themselves financially embarrassed. In August, three months after the appearance of the public roll of church contributors, the Board took action to protect well-intentioned but financially strapped members. Meanwhile, Board members covered the church's gas and coal bills, and Mary Crumpler was appointed the new church collector on a ten percent commission. 55 One who suffered on account of the financial problems of the church was the minister. In the fall of 1906 several attempts were made to catch up on the back pay due Cunningham. In the March 3, 1907, meeting of the Board, "Bro. Cunningham asked us to use our best efforts to effect collection of delinquent accounts as he was in need of funds." Board members, each of whom had been assigned a portion of the membership, reported only modest success. Matters reached a point where one member who asked for a letter of transfer to the Methodist church in Washington was told that the letter would depend on his meeting the outstanding amount on his pledge. The Board had little success in this method of fund raising, and so turned to a reliable source: the women of the church. At the April 14, 1907, meeting of the Board, a motion was passed stating that "we extend a vote of thanks to Mrs. G. W. Freeman and Mrs. W. D. Woolard for their kindness in making a collection for the church." In the same meeting the Board approved payment on a number of bills due. 56 All the while the women were bringing solvency back to the church, they maintained their commitment to the missionary efforts of the denomination, and the missions education of children. In March of 1907, Christian Woman's Board of Missions executive Elizabeth Tesh spent several days in Washington, during which she preached during a Sunday evening service. This was perhaps the first time a woman preached in the church. This was followed by an Eas- ter Sunday program with the children (under the leadership of the women), in charge of the evening service. Their emphasis was on CWBM and National Benevolent Association orphanages in the United States and abroad. 57 Seeking an Identity 47 The Sunday School program at the church used the power of competitive spirit to strengthen its work. The Sunday School of the Greenville Christian Church challenged the Washington Sunday School "to enter into a contest for six months," with points earned by adding members, amounts given, and general support of the school. The losing group was to provide a banner for the winners. The lack of subsequent reference to the competition may well mean that the Greenville church group won. 58 Indiana evangelist E. B. Barnes was called to Washington in June of 1907 to conduct a "protracted meeting." Early reports told of his effective sermons and forty-one additions in the first two weeks. His sermons attracted attention in the community, including one with the title "Hell with the Lid off." A week later and twelve more additions, the response was enthusiastic. One who may not have been so enthusiastic may have been the janitor who had to fill the baptistry (located under the floor behind the pulpit) with a hand- operated water pump! 59 Cunningham spoke with pleasure about the results of the meet- ing, particularly in the face of the problems encountered by Disciples in the city: Those who are on the inside and know the elements that have to be contended in the proclamation of the pure gospel in the city of Washington, know that wonders have been accomplished. The city is a veritable hot bed of prejudice against the people who call themselves "Christians only" and it has been the hardest work to get a hearing by anyone who declares a full gospel. A gospel of platitudes and glittering generalities is the kind wanted in Wash- ington. The writer of this article has "fought with beasts at Ephe- sus" for almost two years, planting the seed and tending the crop to be ready for the harvest time, and the work has been strenuous indeed. He has been compelled to remain quiet while he was being misrepresented in every part of the city, and have remarks credited to him that he never had dreamed of making, and which only a man bereft of his senses would make. The task, said Cunningham, has been ... to get a hearing. This was one great difficulty, but during the past two years that has been overcome and the church is filled at every service especially in the evening by men and women 48 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church who have listened and learned the way of salvation. All the while the guns of sectarian prejudice have been hammering away. . . . Bro. E. B. Barnes of Noblesville, Indiana, was called in to hold a meeting. He proved himself the very man to do the work, and do it effectually. He is as true to the plea as the needle to the pole. He preaches no emasculated gospel, has no compromises to offer, and his challenge rings out boldly to all the world to contradict him if it can be done. 60 Barnes, like Cunningham, had faced sectarian opposition in Washington. He, too, was "misquoted and misrepresented, credited with saying things he never dreamed of saying, and the ignorant are peddling them throughout the city." He said, The church is awake to the reality of what it has to face, and will be ready hereafter to meet all sorts of opposition. So long as all is at peace on the inside of the Washington church they will march forward to victory. Bro. Barnes has left a host of friends behind him here. . . . The results at Washington were 57 additions, 27 baptisms, among which there were but a few children, several young married couples and one aged woman. 61 This episode, and Cunningham's public expression of frustration and anger at the sectarian character of the community, is the only example to be found in the records of the Washington church. Here is the wonder, for even in the early days of the twentieth century, when denominational leaders around the country and around the world were beginning to find new and creative ways to work to- gether, local feelings were often raw, sarcastic, and self-serving. While Disciples and other denominations were about to create the Federal Council of Churches (established in 1908), churches in Washington and most other communities would look upon a success- ful revival in another denomination as a threat to their own. And many churches had reason to feel this way, for there were evangelists who would focus on proselytizing — "stealing" — members from other denominations. Such fears, if not actions, appear to have been present in Washington. During Cunningham's ministry in Washington he became a leader among Disciples at the State Convention. In 1905 he served on the Temperance Committee which brought a resolution to the Convention calling upon Disciples to resist the sale and use of alco- Seeking an Identity 49 holic beverages. This was at the high point of the Prohibition Move- ment, and just four years before Prohibition would become state law in North Carolina. He also gave a major address before the Conven- tion on "A Model Church." He reminded the churches that reform movements throughout Christian history have failed when they lost interest in mission work. "All Christians must be missionaries, if preaching of the Gospel is to be made a success." Also, effective churches are self-disciplined, remembering that "liberty and license have been confused. It must be understood that these two are not the same." 62 That same year Washington reported 237 members and a con- tribution of seventy-five dollars for foreign missions, third in the state. Support of state and home missions was at a much more mod- est level. The next year, 1906, the church claimed 278 members, and they ranked second in the state on American missions, and first in support of state missions. 63 At the 1906 Convention Cunningham reported as chair of the Evangelizing Committee, and urged the State Missionary Society to begin new churches only after careful studies indicated a high prob- ability of success. Simply by pointing out a community without a Disciples church an effective speaker could raise a Convention au- dience to a fever-pitch of commitment to building a new congrega- tion. But experience showed far more was required than enthusiasm and emotion. Careful planning, consideration of other denomina- tions already present, and support by a core group was virtually es- sential to a successful church planting. The Convention responded to Cunningham's prudent leadership, and after only one year of service in North Carolina elected him President of the State Board. He was also elected to the Board of Trustees of Atlantic Christian College. 64 At the 1907 State Convention, presided over by Albert B. Cun- ningham, the Washington church was shown to be third in the state in support of Atlantic Christian College, and the local Christian Woman's Board of Missions chapter was second in the state. Cun- ningham reported to the Convention on a significant shortage of min- isters and of churches large enough to support a preacher. He claimed that on any given Sunday there were 150 empty pulpits, and only eight churches in the state had a full-time minister. 65 Soon after the 1907 Convention Cunningham accepted a call to move to Wilson and take up the position of State Secretary, the cen- tral ministerial position for the Disciples in North Carolina. He left 50 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Washington a stronger church, and brought to the state considerable organizational and leadership skills. 1 George Hinton Crumpler, "As I Remember," Gospel Light (Novem- ber 1941); see also Hilda A. Bowen, "A Large Family," manuscript mem- oirs in Church Files; Biographical and Pension Fund files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 2 C. R. Miller, Letter to the editor, Christian-Evangelist (August 8, 1895), p. 509. 3 John J. Harper, "The Washington Work," Watch Tower (December 15, 1895): 1. 4 "Gleanings from the Field," Watch Tower (December 1, 1895): 8; Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society; George Hinton Crumpler, "As I Remember." 5 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1896, p. 6. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid., p. 9. 8 Ida Withers Harrison, History of the Christian Woman's Board of Missions (n.p.: n.p., n.d.), pp. 99-102. 9 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1896, p. 13; 1886, p. 4; 1890, p. 5. The reference is probably to Popular Hymns Revised for the Work and Worship of the Church-Sunday School, compiled by C. C. Cline (Covington, KY: Guide Printing and Publishing Co., 1883, 1885). 10 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1896, p. 13. 11 Ibid., statistical entries. 12 Malcolmson Pittman, "North Carolina News," Christian Standard (January 16, 1897), p. 91. 13 Watch Tower (March 1, 1897), p. 8; George Hinton Crumpler, "As I Remember." 14 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1897, pp. 11-12; 1898, pp. 12-13; Christian Endeavor is reported to be a regular part of the Sunday activities by mid- April, with evening meetings at seven in the evening, Evening Messenger (April 17, 1897), p. 1. 15 Malcolmson Pittman, "North Carolina News." 16 George Hinton Crumpler, "As I Remember"; Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1898, pp. 29-31; 1899, pp. 20-21. Seeking an Identity 51 17 In the Pension Fund files at the Disciples of Christ Historical Soci- ety, Miller is listed as having served Washington in 1895. By 1932 he had apparently aligned himself with the Independent faction. G. H. Crumpler says that Miller followed Harper, but he could not remember anything about him. He said that Miller was succeeded by MacNamara, and then Pittman. "As I Remember"; George Voiers Moore, Centennial Directory of the Col- lege of the Bible (Lexington Theological Seminary) (Lexington, KY: College of the Bible, 1965. 18 Obituary, Christian Standard (1931), p. 885. 19 Ibid. 20 Hilda A. Bowen, "Memoirs of a Little Church No Longer There," in 75th Anniversary 1891-1966, First Christian Church, Washington, North Carolina (Washington, NC: First Christian Church, 1966), p. ; George Hinton Crumpler, "As I Remember." 21 Washington Progress (October 11, 18, 25, 1900). 22 Washington Progress (November 8, 1900); Joseph D. Waters, Letter to the Editor, Gospel Light (November 1941); North Carolina Christian (April 1962).. 23 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1900, 1901, 1902; Record Book 1, p. 1 (Record Book 1, and all succeeding books of minutes of the Official Board will be referred to as RB plus the book number. Page numbers will be given when available, dates of meetings will be given when pagination is not present.) 24 RB 1, pp. 1, 2, 299. 25 Ibid., passim. 26 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1902. 27 Hilda A. Bowen, "A Large Family." 28 RB 1, pp. 3, 11-12; Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Histor- ical Society; H. C. Bowen, Watch Tower (February 5, 1904). 29 H. C. Bowen, Watch Tower (February 5, 1904). 30 Merritt Owen, "The Week of Prayer," Watch Tower (January 29, 1904), p. 3. 31 Ibid, p. 11. 32 Ibid., pp. 14, 16-17. 33 Ibid., p. 21. 34 Ibid., pp. 81, 86-87. 35 Ibid., pp. 37, 39, 57. 36 Ibid., p. 20. 37 Ibid., pp. 8-9, 47; Daily Messenger (February 12, 1906). 52 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 38 RB 1, pp. 15-17, 19. 39 Ibid., p. 20, 26-27. 40 "Washington Meeting," Watch Tower (July 1, 1904). 41 RB 1, p. 6. 42 Merritt Owen, "Notes on the March Offering in the Washington Church," Watch Tower (March 18, 1904). 43 RB 1, pp. 13-14. 44 S. K. Ingalls, "Tobacco and Religion," Watch Tower (April 28, 1905), p. 16. 45 Merritt Owen, "Youthful Vigor," Watch Tower (April 15, 1904). 46 Ibid. 47 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1904, pp. 16-17, 27, 29. 48 Ibid., pp. 4, 8, 30. 49 Watch Tower (April 28, 1905), p. 8; (May 6, 1904); (June 16, 1905), p. 6. 50 RB 1, pp. 31, 35; Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 51 George Hinton Crumpler, "As I Remember"; "Notes from the Cor- responding Secretary," Carolina Evangel (May 9, 1907), p. 3; RB 1, pp. 55-57. 52 Daily Messenger (February 12, 1906). 53 RB 1, p. 86. 54 Ibid., pp. 51, 53, 55, 58. 55 Ibid., pp. 64-65. 56 Ibid., pp. 70-71, 78, 81-84. 57 "Miss Tesh in Washington," Carolina Evangel (March 28, 1907), p. 6; "Easter at Washington," Ibid. (April 11, 1907), p. 5. 58 "Challenge Accepted," Carolina Evangel (May 23, 1907), p. 4. 59 "The Washington Meeting," Carolina Evangel (June 20, 1907), p. 4; "The Washington Meeting as Seen by a Lac [sic, read Lay] Member," Carolina Evangel (June 27, 1907), p. 3; Hilda A. Bowen, "Memoirs of a Little Church No Longer There." 60 A. B. Cunningham, "Great Washington Meeting," Carolina Evan- gel (July 11, 1907). 61 Ibid. 62 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1905, pp. 4-5. Seeking an Identity 53 63 Ibid., p. 4; Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1906, p. 19. 64 Ibid., pp. 9-12. 65 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1907, pp. 48, 58-59. Chapter Four Maturing in Ministry The first four years of the life of First Christian Church had been exciting, growing times, followed by a period of rapid change and upheaval, with very brief ministries and little stability. The period from 1900 to 1908 also saw three relatively brief ministries, but they were characterized by strong leaders in the pulpit and pew. The next decade continued on that solid base, and saw the congregation ma- ture and provide significant ministry for the community. Having said that, the first year after the departure of A. B. Cunningham was dif- ficult on the church. First they had to deal with ministerial candidates who were less than scrupulous. Ministers came out of the woodwork to serve this strong and growing church, ministers with no commitment to the church beyond the congregation. But the lay leadership saw through their offers, and made it clear that only "legitimate" ministers of the Disciples would be considered. The Carolina Evangel reported on the challenges facing the con- gregation, and their successful handling of the situation: The preacher who is at logger-heads with the Constitution of the State Convention and flies off at a tangent when he fails to have things his own way, will be one of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The church at Washington has already settled the cases of at least two such preachers during the four month[s] that followed the Convention. These men were willing to receive an invitation and take the Washington pulpit and the good salary attaching, and were receptive candidates to it, but the good sense of the Wash- ington official Board stepped in and said "Not So. You are a mem- ber of the Convention, yet you are in practice opposing the work of the State Board, set up at the Convention's bidding. We are a co-operating church and no one can preach for us who is not in full sympathy and co-operating with the Convention and what is or- 55 56 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church dered done at the last Convention." And these brethren turned sadly away. The Evangel commends the action of the Washington church in this matter an [sic, read and] hopes it will point the way to every other church in the State. Better far do like Washington, do with- out until a man who is loyal to every interest of the church can be found. 1 While it is possible that this represents an encounter with a cou- ple of renegade preachers with no accountability to anyone other than their own conscience — or bank account — it is more likely that this story has to do with an attempt by some "non-instrumental" or "anti" preachers to take over the Washington church. During the four decades after the Civil War, the Disciples un- derwent a heart- wrenching division of fellowship. The schism had its roots in the earliest history of the Disciples, when some responded to the message of "Restoration" while others paid greater heed to the issues of Christian unity and valuing of freedom and diversity of opinion. So long as Alexander Campbell was alive, most Disciples deferred to his leadership even when they disagreed with him. Camp- bell's death in 1866 made conflict easier. And the Civil War stirred bitter bile. Many Disciples, especially in Tennessee, suffered greatly on ac- count of the war. During occupation they experienced the first waves of northern Christians coming to the rescue of the "heathen" South- erners. The response by the southern Disciples was less than posi- tive. In the years after the war, insult was added to injury as more and more northern Disciples churches, unharmed by the war and en- joying the economic boom of the latter 1860s, began adding deco- rative touches to their churches, even as they turned their simple farmsteads into the homes of the Victorian era: Chandeliers replaced oil lanterns, wooden floors covered dirt, carpets covered wood. Pews became finely finished furniture. And most important, pianos and organs were introduced into worship. Actually, the first known Disciples church with a musical instru- ment was that of the Midway, Kentucky, church in 1849, several years before the war. But this was not wide-spread until after the Civil War. Also, churches that had lived with the voluntary or part- time services of preachers now found themselves able to afford full- time ministers. Ministers were seeking professional education in the colleges and, beginning in 1865, the seminaries of the Disciples. Maturing in Ministry 57 Many of those southern churches (and a few others) that contin- ued to suffer deprivation, even starvation, amongst their members, looked upon the affluence of the northern churches with disdain and disgust. Falling back on the ideals of Restorationism, they charged that musical instruments and paid ministers had no basis in the New Testament, and thus were a betrayal of the Campbell-Stone Restora- tion movement. They also found reason to oppose missionary societies. They were not to be found in the New Testament, and the one national mis- sionary society of the Disciples, the American Christian Missionary Society (founded 1849), had taken a public stand in support of the Union cause in the midst of the Civil War. The result of these points of opposition led the strict Restora- tionists further and further from the Disciples midstream. They were characterized by their opposition to a number of issues and came to be called, disparagingly, the "antis," anti this and anti that. By the 1890s a clear division among the Disciples could be seen. In the 1906 Federal Religious Census, the "antis" asked to be listed sep- arately from the Disciples as Churches of Christ. Because many Dis- ciples still used the designation "Church of Christ," it became common practice to refer to the "antis" as the "Non-instrumental" Churches of Christ, thus focusing on their opposition to musical in- struments in worship. They were strong in the mountains of North Carolina, but never had much strength in the Piedmont or East. Wherever they went, they attacked the cooperative mission programs of the national, state, and district organizations. And so, the refer- ence in the Carolina Evangel to preachers opposed to the State Con- vention may well have been to Church of Christ preachers seeking a way to influence and win over a young but vigorous congregation in the heart of North Carolina Disciples territory. 2 The church finally found a minister in the person of R. V. Omer who began on May 3, 1908. He was from a family of ministers: His brother Lewis Moses Omer (and his wife, Birdie Farrar) was a mis- sionary in Monterey, Mexico, for the Christian Woman's Board of Missions. In fact, the brother Lewis so overshadowed R. V. that one of the Washington newspapers welcomed the new minister to the Christian Church by saying, "L. M. Omer has accepted a call to the Christian Church here, and has arrived and taken charge. He is a pleasant gentleman and we extend to him a welcome in our midst." 3 Remembering his name would certainly have been a good welcome. 58 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church After six months between ministers the congregation was glad to have someone filling the pulpit on a regular basis. George Hinton Crumpler remembered him as "a good preacher, sweet and lovable and kind." Soon after arriving he was asked to preach at a Roanoke District Union meeting, and he was well received: Bro. R. V. Omer . . . gave an able sermon on Saturday night. Bro. Omer is a bright soul, with a sunshiny disposition, and is calcu- lated to make friends wherever he goes. We understand that he is rapidly coming into favor with his congregation at Washington. 4 Perhaps in response to the frustration that A. B. Cunningham had experienced in the religious community of Washington, Omer went to work on an ecumenical agenda. He brought before the Of- ficial Board a proposal to ask the other churches of Washington to cooperate on a union meeting by which he meant a cooperative re- vival. In late November or early December of 1908 the event took place, and Omer was delighted with the results: We had a fine union meeting in Washington and since then have had nine additions to our congregation, five by confession and four by letter. The union meeting was held by the pastors of the Meth- odist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Christian churches, and much good was done for the town. About 85 names were added to the different churches. 5 This was perhaps the first of what has become a regular feature of the Washington religious community, cooperative worship, work, and projects of many types. The women of the Washington congregation continued to pro- vide steady support for the life of the church and its witness to the larger world. In March of 1908, while the pulpit committee was searching for a new minister, Mrs. R. B. Jackson wrote the Carolina Evangel to say that the Ladies Aid Society and the CWBM continued to be at work in the church: "We ladies cannot afford to take a rest as the brethren do sometimes." If there is a bit of an edge in this comment, it reflects the increasing sense of aggravation by the women towards the sometimes lethargic attitude of the men of the church. Just before Mrs. Jackson's comments appeared in the Evan- gel, another Tar Heel Disciple addressed the issue at the state level: Maturing in Ministry 59 The women of the CWBM not only do State work through their organization, but also as individuals they contribute to the work done by the State Board. As individual members of churches the women of the CWBM have an equal right as the men, and doubt- less contribute liberally to the general work of evangelizing the State. In this they have the advantage of the men, who are not reg- ular contributors through the CWBM. We are in our rights, there- fore, to claim an equal voice, as church members, with men in the management of the State work. But we have been content to do the paying and let the men control the work. And we have been grate- ful when we have received any consideration from our brothers for our own organization, the CWBM. We will continue to be grate- ful. If it does the men any good to feel that they are running things we want to help them feel good. But when, in order to run things, the men begin to act unjustly towards the CWBM, we believe we have the right to enter a protest. And when our protest is not re- ceived cordially and we are roughly handled with words, our timid natures may cause us to shrink and we may shed a few tears, as women have the right to do, but we will not change our opinion on that account. 6 The Christian Education program during R. V. Omer's ministry moved forward, with J. B. Latham as Sunday School Superinten- dent. T. H. Davis taught a class for young girls, and the Baracca class for young men was taught by John N. Paul, also a young mem- ber of the church. The future for the church's education efforts was ensured through a strong Teacher's Training Class, with fifteen to twenty students taught by the minister. The church was able to show- case its efforts in education when the State Sunday School Conven- tion was held at the church in July of 1908. 7 R. V. Omer's ministry was a brief period of maintenance, al- most an interim ministry, during which the membership remained stable at 278, and few new programs were introduced. For reasons unknown, R. V. Omer left the church around the end of December, 1908. A called Board meeting on January 3, 1909, began the process of calling a new minister. 8 Meanwhile, Dr. Jesse C. Caldwell, President of Atlantic Chris- tian College, "aggreed [sic] to serve each Lord's day till a regular pastor could be secured, and he would also interview for same." As it turned out, Caldwell was able to be present at the church as his schedule permitted, and he sent ministerial students from the college 60 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church in his place whenever necessary. The response from the church was most positive, as indicated in a letter to the Carolina Evangel from J. B. Latham: For several months the church here has been without a regular pas- tor. During that period our pulpit was supplied by Brother Cald- well and several of the young men from A. C. College, which we enjoyed very much, and if these young men are a fair specimen of the work that Brother Caldwell is doing, then A. C. College must be the grandest institution in our beloved State, and should enlist the sympathy and cooperation of every Disciples in it. 9 On March 7, 1909, the Board met with R. V. Hope, and rec- ommended him to the congregation. Robert Virgil Hope came to Washington from Columbus, Mississippi, where he had developed a reputation as an excellent young minister. He studied at the College of the Bible 1899-1902 and was ordained in 1895. The first evalu- ations of Hope described him as "a splendid man, good preacher, and hard worker . . . and his work here has begun with flattering prospects. . . . Just keep your eye on Washington. There is going to be something doing here." 10 R. V. Hope remained in Washington for over six years, the long- est pastorate to that point in the church's history. While in Washing- ton, Hope courted and married a member of the church. Billie Lee Freeman and Robert Hope were married in the church on March 10, 1915, with Dr. Jesse Caldwell of Atlantic Christian College perform- ing the ceremony. This cemented Hope's ties with Washington, and he would return to Washington to retire some twenty years later. 1 1 Hope left a careful record of his ministerial activities while in Washington, including many of his sermon titles and scriptural texts. An examination of these reveal a concern for the nature of the church and the Christian life. Some sermons were clearly evangelistic in character. His sermons occasionally had lively titles, including "Thunder of Silent Fidelity," "Carrion and Vultures," and "Four Sad Evils of Washington." Hilda Bowen recalled that sometimes while preaching Hope's voice would weaken, and he would indicate to the organist that he was having problems. She would "start play- ing and the congregation would always sing, 'The Way of the Cross Leads Home.' " 12 While the Board constantly had to struggle to meet the ordinary financial needs of the church, the congregation was willing to re- Maturing in Ministry 61 spond to the possibility of a new church building. Growth in the wor- shipping community and even more in the Sunday School led the Board in the summer of 1912 to begin to explore options on property for a new church. The catalyst for actually moving on the project seems to have been a sermon by R. V. Hope. Many years later he recalled the sermon in which he laid out the needs of the church and urged the members to respond. At the end of the service a young man, Eddie Wilkerson, came to the front of the church and emptied his pockets for a new church. The sight of Wilkerson, confined to a wheel chair, giving so completely of what he had moved the congre- gation. "The amount was not large but others caught the spirit of liberality on the part of this crippled boy, and in a few weeks a con- siderable sum was pledged and paid." One source says that the amount given by Wilkerson was sixty-seven cents. The next year a lot was purchased on the corner of Second and Respess, along with the house located on the property. The house was given to Reverend Hope for use as a parsonage. 13 A significant change in the worship life of the church occurred during the ministry of R. V. Hope. During the late nineteenth cen- tury medical researchers began to achieve rapid advances in their knowledge of communicable diseases and how to prevent them. Sur- geons learned to scrub before operating, and to sterilize their instru- ments. Water and sewer systems came under the control of sanitary engineers. Common drinking cups in public places were abandoned. And in many churches, across many denominations, the practice of receiving communion wine by drinking from a common cup was re- placed by sanitary little individual "shot glass" communion cups. This change came to Washington in 1913. 14 When the use of grape juice instead of wine came is not documented. It is likely that the shift to individual cups for the wine or juice came before a common loaf was given up. Although more healthy and sanitary, especially in an age before immunization was available for the most common communicable diseases, the use of individual communion cups and the loss of a common loaf also changed the character and power of the experience of the Lord's Supper. Throughout the history of the Disciples, the use of one loaf and one cup, or one flagon filling several cups, was itself a symbol of the unity of the church. Alexander Campbell and Barton Warren Stone both spoke of the importance of the people participating in the uni- fying symbols of the body of Christ. And, as Campbell taught, it was 62 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church important for the people to see the breaking of the bread as a sign of that body which was broken for the salvation of humankind. In ad- dition, by going to individual cups and pre-cut bread or crackers, the sense of participating with the rest of the congregation, communing together with the Risen Lord along with one's brothers and sisters in the faith was largely lost. In this the First Christian Church shared in a change that affected most Disciples churches, and most other Prot- estant denominations, except for the Episcopalians and Lutherans. Well into Hope's ministry the congregation again participated in a union meeting with the Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches in town. Unlike the union revival during the ministry of R. V. Omer, this was a series of Sunday evening services which would move from church to church during late July and August, or sometimes just through the month of August. These were not revival services, but union services of worship. It also happened that they took place when some of the ministers happened to be on vacation, and thus allowed the churches to help cover some of their worship needs without having to pay for an outside speaker. The union sum- mer worship services continued for many years, with the Disciples participating as long as any other church was willing to cooperate. 15 Regular revivals, usually twice a year, continued to be a part of the church program. During the Hope ministry these occurred most often in early summer and in the fall. Reverend Hope later remem- bered one year in which he preached the summer revival, with forty- seven additions to the church. Then in the fall the C. L. Ogan Evangelistic Company came to the church and put on a revival re- sulting in eighty-eight people joining the church, and 1,000 attend- ing Sunday School during the campaign. The church was so pleased with the efforts of their preacher, that they gave him a bonus of $50 in gold. He immediately turned it over to the building fund. 16 The use of a professional evangelistic company was not unusual. There were many such companies and professional evangelists traveling the country in those days. They began to lose favor in the years following the first World War, perhaps due to the pall of skepticism and sus- picion that spread across the country concerning flamboyant revival preachers. In addition to providing financial help to the church, the women came to participate more in church governance during the period 1910-1915. In 1910 there is a reference to a Sister Woolard (probably the wife of W. D. Woolard) as present in the Board meeting. Her Maturing in Ministry 63 name is followed immediately by that of J. R. Meekins in parenthe- ses. Since Meekins was Clerk, or secretary, with responsibility for keeping Board minutes, it is possible that Sister Woolard had been brought in to assist Meekins with keeping minutes. This is supported further by the clear change to a female handwriting style shortly prior to this reference. 17 In 1912 Minnie Latham Hudnell, along with S. F. Freeman and R. V. Hope, was chosen to represent the church as a delegate to the State Convention in Farmville. Soon after, Etta Nunn preached at the church. A year and a half later both the CWBM and the Ladies Aid Society were asked to give reports on their finances to the Board. (The Sunday School superintendent was also asked to report.) 18 In isolation, these events do not amount to much. But put together a pattern of growing recognition and influence by the women of the church can be seen. This would continue for the next several decades. A change in the structure of the church school program took place under the leadership of R. V. Hope. The Front Rank program used materials published by the Standard Publishing Company, and used a graded system and carefully delineated leadership process. There were six departments: Cradle Roll, Primary, Junior, Interme- diate, Adult, and Home. Each department would have a superinten- dent or secretary. There would be an annual promotion day, teacher training classes, and organized classes for youth over the age of six- teen. There were to be weekly or monthly meetings of teachers. Each department was to have an officer in charge of the missions compo- nent of the program, with regular offerings for the State Bible School work, the American Christian Missionary Society, and other foreign missions and benevolent activities. Washington entered the Front Rank program in late 1910, when R. V. Hope was serving as State Superintendent of Bible Schools. The result was an educational pro- gram that paid careful attention to the learning level of the students, and integrated Bible study with the current mission and life of the church. The basic structure would be followed for many decades to come. It was about this time that Sunday School moved from after- noon to Sunday morning. 19 During Hope's ministry the church maintained its active partic- ipation in the State Convention and North Carolina Christian Mis- sionary Society. In 1909 Hope led devotions in the Convention, and was chosen State Superintendent of the Bible Schools. He was to 64 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church visit each Sunday School in the state while performing his ministry in Washington. 20 The State Convention returned to Washington in 1910. The host congregation was recognized for "unexcelled hospitality" and ap- preciation was expressed for "the courtesies of other religious bodies of the city in tendering their houses of worship for our use." Hope was singled out "for his untiring zeal and notable efficiency in look- ing after the comfort of the delegates." Among the speakers at the Convention were two former pastors, J. D. Waters from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and J. C. Caldwell, President of Atlantic Christian (former interim minister). Other speakers included Archibald McLean, President of the Foreign Christian Missionary Society, and Robert M. Hopkins, Bible School Secretary of the American Chris- tian Missionary Society. 21 R. V. Hope's work as State Superintendent of Bible Schools was hailed as highly effective, and he was asked to serve another term. He was to collect annual statistics from all the churches, hold "such institutes and rallies, and [attend] Union meetings and con- ventions as it is possible for him to do." He was also to write a reg- ular Bible School column in the Carolina Evangel, and work "in hearty accord with the Bible School department of the American Christian Missionary Society.' ' In addition the Convention sought to have the Southeast states work with the ACMS in employing a Bible School specialist who would spend a month a year in each of the states. This position was referred to in the official minutes of the Convention as a "B. S. Specialist." Presumably a number of qual- ified candidates were found. 22 Several members of the church gave leadership to the State church during Hope's ministry. S. F. Freeman continued on the Board of Trustees of Atlantic Christian College, Hope served on the Ordination Committee, the State Board for three years, the Temper- ance Committee, and remained as Superintendent of the Bible Schools throughout the period of his ministry in Washington. T. W. Phillips served on the Temperance Committee, during which time that Committee continued to press for full enforcement of temper- ance laws, and to "make the United States a saloon-less nation by 1920." 23 R. V. Hope's six years in Washington were busy and full, and reflect the leadership of an able and inspiring minister. The church grew, reaching 316 members by the time Hope left for Rocky Mount, Maturing in Ministry 65 became better organized, especially in its education program, began the move to buy land and build a more adequate facility, and saw the women of the church participating in governance of the church. 24 It had been six years since the church had gone through the sometimes frustrating process of finding a new minister. After three months of looking, the Board voted on January 2, 1916, to call Charles Marion McEntyre as minister. McEntyre was pastor of the Christian Church in East Chattanooga, Tennessee. He had studied at the College of the Bible 1909-1912, and was a native of Alabama. 25 McEntyre arrived on February 1 , 1916, and was found to be one minister who truly enjoyed calling on the membership. McEntyre and his wife would start walking in the morning to visit and wherever they would happen to be at lunch time they would eat with that family. After lunch they would visit and stop for supper with another fam- ily. In his May  report he made "76 visits — 4 funerals, 4 marriages — had no members sick, so as can not be up." The next month he made 92 calls. His gas bill was $1.50 and his light bill sixty-seven cents. No wonder! ... He was a large man and wore the longest coats. You could truly say he was a man "of the cloth." It was also recalled that worship services lasted two hours under McEntyre, from 11:00 until 1:00. 26 The changing role of women in the life of the church continued to develop during McEntyre's ministry. In the fall of 1916 a nomi- nating committee for church officers was appointed, and they were instructed to nominate deaconesses as well as deacons and elders. There is no discussion of the office of deaconess as something new, so it is possible that there had been some women serving in the di- aconate prior to this time. The nominating committee included two women. The officers chosen that fall included not only the first group of deaconesses of record (Mrs. S. F. Freeman, Mrs. C. H. Powell, Mrs. M. F. Jefferson, Mrs. O. M. Winfield, Mrs. F. A. Lilly, Mrs. A. H. Wilkinson, Mrs. F. P. Whitley), but also the first woman of- ficer of the church. Nellie M. Winfield was elected as Church Clerk. Two women of the church were also chosen as delegates to the State Convention, along with two men of the congregation. 27 Also in the fall of 1916, Rosalie Freeman Ricks was employed as church pianist for five dollars per month. She would serve for many 66 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church years to come. Earlier that same year the women of the church choir had asked permission of the Board to sell the old piano and organ and buy a new piano. The Board approved and sent the matter to the church for final approval. There was concern in the Board that noth- ing be done on this without the approval of the church "as there might be some objection by the older members of the church." There are fewer issues in a church around which there will be more heat generated than matters of music and musical instruments. 28 A momentous change in the future of the church began to take shape in the fall of 1916 when the Board decided that the lot at Sec- ond and Respess on which the parsonage stood would not be ade- quate for the future of the church. An opportunity arose to buy a large plot of land on the corner of Second and Academy, immedi- ately across from the church. It was reported at the December, 1916, meeting of the Board that the old parsonage had been sold for $4,250, and the new property had been purchased for $3,750. It was agreed that a new parsonage would be built on the Academy Street lot, and plans were made to give serious attention to the matter of fund raising. 29 During the ministry of McEntyre the church maintained its po- sition as one of the leaders in support of state and denominational missions. In 1917 the church was fourth in the state for outreach giv- ing, while the Bible School in Washington was first in the state for missions funds raised. At the 1918 State Convention — limited to one day due to the influenza epidemic that would last another year and kill millions around the world — it was reported that the church was third in the state in missions support. Washington was also cited for support of the Emergency Drive of the Men and Millions Movement. By its conclusion the Disciples had raised about eight million dollars, the most given to any Protestant financial campaign to that point in American history. 30 This Emergency Drive was a wartime effort of the Men and Mil- lions Movement which had begun in 1913 prior to the outbreak of the First World War. It is most curious, with the involvement of many citizens of Washington in the war effort, that there is not one refer- ence to the war in the minutes of the Official Board of the church. This was a war in which the churches across America were vitally involved, energetically so in support of the allies. In fact, the war fever that seemed to capture many congregations and denominations Maturing in Ministry 67 in the United States would lead to a period of cynicism and deep re- gret on the part of Christian leaders in the decades following the war. The war had been seen in idealistic terms by Americans and their churches. "The War to End all Wars," "The War to make the World Safe for Democracy," had been a self-righteous cause, one fought, so the people thought, with purity of motive. When the war ended, and word leaked out about American and British companies profi- teering on the war; when the savagery of the two Battles of the Somme and the use of poison gas became known; when the peace conference broke down into power politics and self-serving maneu- vers, the American people felt betrayed, used, and abused. The fact that the church had so thoroughly supported the war effort was now seen as a maligning of the purposes of the church founded by the Prince of Peace. The response of the church to the Second World War would be greatly tempered by this experience. It is interesting that nothing official was done by the Board in regard to the war, though it is most likely that worship services and all other meetings of the church were occasions to express concern for loved ones in fields of battle and for the overall allied cause. There was conflict, however, within the church and among the members of the church. In a series of entries in the Board minutes, beginning in January of 1918, a story of conflict emerges that would continue until the early summer of 1919. It is possible that there were actually several different disputes involved in these references, most of which are vague. The conflict clearly centered on a dispute be- tween T. W. Phillips and E. H. Jefferson, and may have involved a difference of opinion over either the building program or the minis- ter, or both. The Board on several occasions appointed a committee to visit both men in order to seek a reconciliation. As things came to a head in January of 1919, many officers, elders, and deacons re- signed, or attempted to resign. E. H. Jefferson submitted an apology to the Board saying, Bro. Freeman — I wish you would state to the Official Board of church that I am willing to go before it and express my regret, and ask the pardon of the church or any member thereof for the exhi- bition of my temper and feeling on the Sunday of the election of Bro. McEntire [sic]. I wish to further state that I have no ill feeling against anyone, and hope and prey [sic] no one has none [sic] against me. I am yours for the upbuilding of the church. 31 68 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church By May the issue was still not resolved, even though McEntyre was no longer on the scene. The Board obviously tried to limit the damage done in the dispute by passing a Board resolution saying that they would not allow "discussion of church business before the church and the public." This failed, and was probably seen as an at- tempt to silence inquiry and dissent. In June of 1919, the Board ad- mitted that "this rule was broken by some who did and some who did not understand the resolution," so "the present Board recom- mends that the church revoke said act together with all unpleasant- ness that seemingly grew out from said act; and that the church extend full fellowship to all affected by said act." They did ask that henceforth all business should be brought before the Board first, and then, if necessary, it could be taken before the congregation for "a limited discussion .' ' 32 McEntyre left about the first of February. The church was in se- rious turmoil. Despite the fact that the membership had reached 469, new property was owned, and a brand new parsonage had been built, there was a sense of things not being right. The community of the church, that place where people are supposed to be "known for their love for one another," was anything but. A healer was needed, a pas- tor who could live, breathe, and teach love. That person was found. 33 1 "The Preacher, the Church, and Co-operation," Carolina Evangel (February 27, 1908), p. 4. 2 The story of the Non-instrumental Churches of Christ is told in sev- eral places, among them Lester G. McAllister and William E. Tucker, Jour- ney in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1975); David Edwin Harrell, A Social History of the Disciples of Christ, 2 vols. (Nashville: Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1966; Atlanta: Publication Systems, 1973). 3 Washington Progress (May 7, 1908). 4 George Hinton Crumpler, "As I Remember," Gospel Light (Novem- ber 1941); Carolina Evangel (June 11, 1908). 5 RB 1, p. 92; Carolina Evangel (December 17, 1908). 6 Carolina Evangel (March 12, 1908; February 2, 1908). 7 Ibid., (December 17, 1908; July 16, 1908). 8 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1908, p. 43. 9 RB 1, p. 96; J. B. Latham, Letter to the editor, Carolina Evangel (June 17, 1909). Maturing in Ministry 69 10 RB 1 , pp. 96-97; Yearbook of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina for 1916, p. 16; J. B. Latham, Letter to the editor, Carolina Evangel (June 17, 1909). 11 Record Book of Robert Virgil Hope. 12 Ibid., pp. 100-128; Hilda A. Bowen, "Memoirs of a Little Church No Longer There," in 75th Anniversary 1891-1966, First Christian Church, Washington, North Carolina (Washington, NC: First Christian Church, 1966), p. .. 13 RB 1, pp. 113, 115, 117; R. V. Hope, "As I knew It," Gospel Light (November 1941); Margaret Winfield, "Seventy Five Years of History," in 75th Anniversary 1891-1966, First Christian Church, Washington, North Carolina (Washington, NC: First Christian Church, 1966), p. ; RB 1, p. 156. 14 RB 1, p. 120. 15 Ibid., p. 157. 16 R. V. Hope, "As I knew it." 17 RB 1, pp. 104-105. 18 Ibid., 116, 152; Record Book of Robert Virgil Hope, p. 117. 19 Carolina Evangel (January 15, 1911; December 15, 1910). 20 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1909, pp. 2, 9. 21 Carolina Evangel (December 1, 1910). 22 Ibid.; Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Conven- tion, 1910, pp. 8-9. 23 Minutes of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 1910, p. 7; 1911, pp. 10, 15; 1912, pp. 2, 12; 1914, p. 8; 1915, p. 9. 24 Ibid., 1915, p. 28. 25 Ibid., p. 161. 26 Hilda Bowen, "Memoirs," p. . 27 RB 2, pp. 174-175, 107. 28 Ibid., pp. 177, 165. 29 Ibid., pp. 178-180. 30 Yearbook of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of North Carolina for 1918, pp. 20, 38-39; Yearbook . . . for 1919, pp. 3, 25, 50. 31 RB 3„ January 1, 6, 9, 12, 19, 26, 29, February 16, March 16, 30, 1919. 32 Ibid., May 14, June 6, 8, 1919. 33 Yearbook of the Christian Church, 1919. Chapter Five Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years Occasionally in the life of a church there appears a person who by virtue of vision and compassion shapes the church into a new form, a form that encompasses the values of that significant person. Such was the impact of Richard Bagby on the life of First Christian Church of Washington. Richard Bagby was born in 1867 in Virginia. He attended Mil- ligan College and graduated from Bethany College (founded by Al- exander Campbell) in 1893. He did graduate study at the University of Virginia. He served churches in Maryland, Virginia, and Penn- sylvania before coming to First Christian of Wilson, North Carolina, in 1912. When the World War erupted, he volunteered to work with the troops in France under the auspices of the YMCA, a primary source of ministry to the military, a supplement to the military chap- laincy. Bagby held the position of District Secretary of Religious Work through which he oversaw the ministry provided by many YMCA workers among the troops. He had just returned to the States from France when he received an invitation from the Washington church to visit and consider the church as a place to minister. 1 Richard Bagby 's wife, Daisy Price Bagby, had served as Dean of Women at Atlantic Christian College while her husband was in France. She was highly esteemed for the way in which she worked with and provided support for Mr. Bagby's ministry as well as her own involvement in the life of the community. 2 The earliest reference in the minutes to Bagby are dated June 27, 1919, and indicate that he had been in the church for at least a few days. The June 6 Board minutes speak of the failure of the pulpit committee to attract another candidate, and no mention is made then of Bagby. But the Washington Daily News reported on June 14 that he had arrived. He was installed on June 22, with other churches of the city participating in the service of welcome, along with the Pres- ident of Atlantic Christian College. 3 71 72 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Bagby and his wife came to Washington at a time of crisis in the life of the church. A decision had to be made: Was this going to be a church that would live out the promise of its early years, and be a leader in the community and in the state in support of the ministry and mission of the Gospel, or was this going to be a church that con- stantly undercut whatever good it might try to do with constant bick- ering and infighting over issues of power and control? There is some indication that the conflict in the congregation during the months prior to the arrival of Bagby had also had to do with questions of belief, and whether or not persons could be leaders in the church if their ideas were somewhat different from those of others. An article in the Christian-Evangelist, then the national weekly magazine of the Disciples, indicated that Bagby came into a situation in which mem- bers were fighting over doctrine: The fact has been demonstrated that when the people of the Lord got busy about something practical they will soon lose some of the over-importance of theoretical distinctions and that practical love is better than imaginary soundness of doctrine. It is not possible to grow in grace and spiritual comprehension when people are over anxious about the heterodoxy of another. Plucking doctrinal motes out of our brother's eye is an occupation that diminishes our power of spiritual vision and reduces to tiny proportions our supply of grace and truth. 4 It was to be the legacy of Richard Bagby to lead the church out of conflict and petty power plays to the high road of service and witness. Bagby brought strong love to the Washington church. He taught and lived love. It was not mere sentiment, nor even affection, though he was clearly a person of sentiment and affection. His love was tough enough to take on serious issues and difficult people. At the time of his death, friends in Virginia recalled: Brother Bagby, as we tenderly called him, was a good man, with all of the significance of the word. Goodness means God-likeness. He was like the God revealed by Jesus. In all of his 8 1 years no one dared to impugn his moral or spiritual integrity. He loved with his whole being. Early in life he learned that the gospel of Jesus Christ was the good news of God's love for the whole world, and that the Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 73 sublime privilege of the minister of that gospel was to teach people to love one another. He was an ambassador of love. When he entered a home, he "brought the benediction of peace. His going left the encouragement of hope." 5 While his influence on the church was great — even to the point of members naming children after him — he was not regarded by his hearers as a particularly strong preacher. "He only had one sermon, and that was on love," is a typical comment. His effectiveness in the pulpit, however, was based less on what he said and more on the per- son who said it: "His sermons were simple and brief, but how we were thrilled as we heard, looking into a face reflecting the light of God. . . . His preaching made God real and it made Jesus Christ man's savior." 6 In the first two years of his ministry, Richard (often accompa- nied by Daisy) would walk all across town, visiting his members. Oc- casionally he would be found walking miles out into the country to visit those who lived there. When the church learned of his long walks, the congregation purchased a car for him, and Daisy became his chauffeur. 7 One of the most significant events in the life of the congregation during the ministry of Richard Bagby, and indeed, in the life of the church, was the construction of the current church building. Just a few weeks after arriving in Washington, Bagby encouraged the Board to appoint a committee to seek an architect to draw up plans for a new church. With that committee at work, in the fall of 1919 another committee was named "to rally the congregation on the question of building a new church." 8 By March of 1920, Reverend Bagby was encouraged to contact the Roanoke District Union "asking for their prayerful and financial aid in building our church." There is no indication that this appeal met with success. Two weeks later both Athens Chapel and Old Ford Churches were considered as sources of funds, but apparently again with no positive results. Efforts within the congregation led to only modest results. In July of 1920, the Building Committee reported a fund total of $1,975. 9 A turning point was reached in the late fall of 1920 when Bagby "concluded his sermon on the need of a larger church building at the regular Sunday night service." The minister stepped out of the pul- pit, and "an enthusiastic congregation remained in a meeting for the 74 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church discussion of a building program. A building committee composed of H. G. Winfield, chairman, J. W. Oden, E. L. Roebuck, J. B. Res- pass and J. R Jackson was elected." A finance committee was also appointed. Church members quickly added to the funds already in hand, but that still totalled only some $3,500. This was not enough to start a building such as they dreamed about. The church was com- posed mostly of people of modest means. Bagby remembered later that "there were many critics, who when they saw the plans for the new building, shook their heads and said, 'You can't do it.' But the members in spirit said as Nehemiah did of old, 'I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.'" 10 Some of the church leaders realized that the task ahead had to be broken down into a manageable and imaginable size. The congregation was challenged to buy and place 100,000 bricks on the lot and building would begin. The response was phenome- nal. Individual members bought bricks from one to two, three and five thousand bricks each. J. T. Hardison was immediately em- ployed to superintend construction. 11 A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Tuesday afternoon, May 24, 1921. Bricks placed on the building site served as a plat- form for the ceremonies. In a steady rain, and after "inthusiastic" [sic] speeches, the oldest living charter member of the church, T. W. Phillips, turned the first spade of dirt, and the project was on. The first 100,000 bricks allowed the building to reach ground level. In- dividuals and groups purchased more bricks, and construction continued. 12 Paying for the church proved to be an exercise in creativity. In addition to the brick-buying scheme (which included purchasing bricks made of paper blocks for the price of a real brick), a special offering was taken up at each Wednesday evening prayer meeting. The Sunday School offering on the first Sunday of each month was given over to the building fund. Children put on shows and charged admission, and sold tobacco which they had scavenged from that which had dropped off of trucks or had been begged from farmers. Margaret Buck remembers selling rides in her father's Model T Ford. Hilda Bowen recalled that she and Olive Harrison made enough Mar- tha Washington chocolate candy "to fill the town's water tank. We always sold all we had," with the proceeds going towards the build- ing. On one occasion Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 75 we had a party for the young people to make money for the church. I went and they sold tickets for the prettiest girl there. The prize was a homemade cake. I got the prize. And my boyfriend paid $60 for tickets he bought. Everytime anyone else bought a ticket he bought another one. ... A few sold for $8 a piece. 13 Sixty dollars was quite a commitment for a young man in the early twenties. No group was more helpful than the Ladies Aid Society. They raised money by holding "silver teas." These were social hours with cookies and tea, and all who attended were to bring some "silver" for the new church. The Building Fund Committee learned that whenever funds ran out, they could turn to the Ladies Aid and they would be forthcoming. H. G. Winfield recalled, "When we did not know where the next payroll was coming from we could call on this organization for a few dollars most anytime. . . . Yes, if it had not been for this good loyal organization, the going would have been a great deal harder.' ' 14 There were times when Saturday would arrive and workers ex- pecting their checks, but no money in the bank. The checks would be given out, an appeal would be made at Sunday School and church, and enough would be raised to get them through another week. The Century Club was another scheme. By contributing 100 pennies per week a person could belong to the club. They raised over seven thou- sand dollars in this way. 15 As the building progressed, there was a major push to install the permanent roof so as to protect the interior work. "We had a picture of the roof drawn on a black board and we sold this roof to the mem- bers by the square, some bought one square, some two, some three, four or five, through this channel we raised enough money to pay for the roof." Each roof square was priced at twenty-five dollars. Win- dows were by the pane the same way, and then pews and other fur- niture. E. Leon Roebuck later pondered this mode of paying for a building, and advised: "Make your appeals for definite quantities of material instead of dollars, and that insofar as is possible 'pay as you build' and avoid a large church debt." The reason is simple: "Re- sponse from occupants of old and uncomfortable pews is much better from those sitting in new pews.' ' 16 By February of 1923 the building was far enough along to allow the Board to meet in the study (now the parlor), and soon thereafter 76 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church in the church basement. "As soon as the basement floor was ce- mented and the temporary roof on the church, the congregation met in the new building. It has been said that the big room looked like a warehouse since none of the rooms had been partitioned." Members brought pews over from the old church. Despite the appearance of the place, Bagby recalled, "Oh, how happy we were to be able to worship in our new building. For some years we worshipped there and never in my life did I attend such sweet services." The move to the new church took place around May 8, 1923, when the Board made reference to meeting there. The first wedding in the structure was in the basement, and united Robert Nash Cooper and Etta Lee Campbell. 17 The finishing off of rooms continued with creative efforts. Sun- day School classes, particularly the Young Men's Class, finished rooms with their own labor and funds which they raised, ostensibly for their own use, only to turn them over to other classes. Paul B. Ellis later recalled that organizer and teacher of the Young Men's Class, W. R. Roberson, was a capable motivator of youth. He had agreed to teach the class only if the members would double the size of the class within the first few weeks of its initiation about 1920. As the church was being built, the Young Men's Class' first big project was to finish a room, which later was the pastor's study, in the new building, which was nearing completion, for a classroom. This was done by each member paying so much each week on a "young Men's Classroom Fund." We had not been in our new room long before Mr. Roberson called our attention to the fact that the ladies were having to meet in the unfinished base- ment. We gave them our room and moved into the basement and started again a "classroom fund," to complete the room the class now uses. In addition to our "classroom fund" a "dire need fund" was started to take care of any "dire need" which was brought to the attention of the class. . . . Every Sunday morning there was a report of anyone, whether a church member or not, who was in need and a committee was named to see that the need was met. I'll be eternally thankful to Mr. Roberson for his teaching that the only way to truly serve God was in serving one's fellow man, and for his interpretation of Christian business ethics, to quote him, "Any business deal that is not mutually profitable, or advantageous is crooked, have nothing to do with it." 18 But since significant funds were needed to bring the building project to a conclusion, professional fund-raiser and evangelist, Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 77 George L. Snively, was brought in the fall of 1925 for a special cam- paign. Meanwhile, the credit of the congregation was good, and as required, additional monies were borrowed. 19 The new church was dedicated on December 5, 1926, in a day filled with celebration. George Snively was invited back to be the primary speaker, and Josephus Daniels, native of Washington, editor of the Raleigh News and Observer and former Secretary of the Navy during World War I spoke in the afternoon on "World Peace." At- tendance was reported to have been over a thousand at each of three services. Richard Bagby reported that while Snively had urged the church to plan to feed those in attendance with a simple meal of baked beans and sandwiches, ... the ladies of the church, while appreciating his suggestion, decided that Beaufort County baked chicken and boiled country ham were more in keeping with their taste and Southern tradition. From the way in which the hundreds devoured the food, we believe they were well satisfied with the decision of the sisters. There was a plenty for both meals, and the next day several sisters were kept busy taking what was left to the poor of the city. On dedication day some $43,000 in cash and pledges were raised, allowing the church to purchase a pipe organ, carpet the sanctuary, and provide funds for missions while also paying off a substantial portion of the building debt. 20 As the new church building came to completion, the old church building which had been the scene of the life of the congregation since the earliest days of the congregation had to be dealt with. In 1924 the church bell was given to the church at Hunter's Bridge. The old building itself was given to a Black congregation and moved to West Fifth Street, where it is still serving the worship needs of a congregation. 21 While so much of the life and focus of the church centered around the building project during the 1921-1926 period, the life of the congregation continued in other areas. The minister was inten- tionally kept off of the various committees related to the building. As Bagby later said, the pastor "had his very important work to do, which was to preach with all his might a gospel of love, and to love especially those who were inclined to kick out of harness." 22 The governance system of the church evolved in significant ways under the leadership and encouragement of Bagby. In 1919 the Board established a number of regular committees, anticipating the "func- 78 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church tional committee" system that would come a number of years later. 23 This had the effect of regularizing and systematizing the work of the Board, and meant that issues could be anticipated and planned for, not just reacted to with an ad hoc committee. The Board also found itself willing to discipline itself. In 192 1 , the Board voted to inquire of all absent members who were not oth- erwise accounted for to give their excuse for being absent. In 1924, Board Chair R. S. Silverthorne urged some of the committees to get to work. At one meeting he "very kindly but frankly called on the finance Committee to put on more effort," and the secretary re- ported that at the August meeting Silverthorne "jacked up the pulpit committee," which had been slow in finding someone to lead a revival. 24 In 1927 Richard Bagby led the Board to elect "a representative from each of the women's societies of the church to serve on the of- ficial board, namely the Ladies Aid, Woman's Missionary Society, and the Young Ladies Mission Circle." On May 8 the congregation, on a motion by Bagby, elected Edith Sparrow, Minnie Latham Hud- nell, and Ellen Parker to serve on the Board. A number of years ear- lier the women's organizations had been asked to report to the Board, but had not been given membership and vote. For several years, particularly during the building campaign, women had served as church clerk and as treasurers of various funds, thus participating in and reporting to the Board. But this was the first regular election of women to the church Board. By and large deaconesses had hith- erto not attended Board meetings. It was not long before these new Board members were called upon, along with male members of the Board, to offer opening and closing prayers at meetings. This was a sign of acceptance of the women by the men. 25 In 1930 the Board was challenged to change another practice that had been in place since the beginning of the church. Elders and deacons, once elected, remained on the Board, re-nominated every three years, unless they asked to leave the Board or were removed from the Board. Nominations always came from the Board itself. At the October 5, 1930, meeting of the Board Dr. Leroy Satterthwaite proposed that the nominating committee be appointed "from the church at large" rather than the Board. In a most unusual fashion, Board minutes revealed a conflict: Bro. Satterthwaite also very severely criticized our present meth- ods of nominating ourselves, and also other business that is Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 79 brought before the church, as he felt that the members at large would not express themselves for fear of critisism [sic] and rebuke. He also read a very lengthy address in which he critisized [sic] the way our present pension system was carried by the church. As he did not feel the congregation was given a fair chance to express themselves, and he felt sure from the observations that he and oth- ers had made that others would have voted against a pension sys- tem if they had not been afraid of rebuke and embarrassment. 26 More was obviously at stake than just the method of electing Board members, but just what objections Dr. Satterthwaite had against, for example, participation in the denominational pension system is never made clear. Indeed, after this meeting there is no fur- ther record relating to this event, with the one exception of a com- ment in the February, 1931, meeting of the Board. A committee was appointed to find a way to help the church recommend other mem- bers who might be considered for the office of elder. But it would be another twenty years before Dr. Satterthwaite's concerns about the election of the Board would be fully reflected in a change of procedure. 27 Music was an important part of the worship life of the congre- gation. The choir was given a prominent position in the arrangement of the sanctuary in the old church, and even more prominent in the new church where they were placed in a tiered choir loft behind the pulpit, facing the congregation. They sat below a rank of balanced large organ pipes, giving a sense of the sounds of voices uniting with the notes moving upward from the pipes. Shortly before the arrival of Richard Bagby, the choir was com- posed of Rosalie Freeman Ricks (pianist and organist), Addie Free- man Singleton, Edith Campbell Sparrow, Nellie May Winfield, Mary Edmond Winfield, Daisy McEntyre (Bagby 's predecessor's wife), Lillie Freeman Hope, Essie Phillips Davis, Pamela Singleton Davis, Pearl Gautier Lilley, Gladys Whitley, Ethel Elliott Gattis, Ve- rona Elliott Edwards, Etta Lee Campbell Cooper, Kathleen Jackson Copp, Hilda Alligood Bowen, Milton Troy Jefferson, and Claude Ricks. 28 During the early 1920s Mark Swingley conducted the choir for a salary of ten dollars a month. Rosalie Ricks remained as organist until 1934. She was replaced in June, 1934, by Kathleen Ellis, with Vivian Cutler as assistant organist. At the May 11, 1937, meeting of 80 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church the Board, Vivian Cutler was given the position of organist. With the exception of interruptions for child-bearing, Vivian Cutler (Weath- erly) has served faithfully at the organ console for more than fifty- four years. 29 Richard Bagby, despite his years, entered into his ministry with a special commitment to the youth and the education program of the church. Margaret Buck recalls his offering a prize to the Vacation Bible School student who could best outline his sermon. The min- ister also encouraged adult learning, and apparently taught a Monday night Bible class during the mid- 1920s. 30 An important development in the educational program and the general life of the church occurred with the formation of a new class for young women on March 12, 1930, the Willing Workers Class. With a motto of "Service Above Self," the class entered a program of study under teacher Olive Wicks Harrison and active participation in the outreach concerns of the congregation under class President Doris Hornsby. 31 Meanwhile, the Workers' Council and the Sunday School Super- intendent began in the 1930s to provide occasional workshops and classes for leadership training and Sunday School teacher training. In addition, they took advantage of programs offered through denomi- national resources so as to strengthen the educational program of the church. 32 In 1934 three young women of the church were sent to the North Carolina Disciples of Christ Young People's Conference at Von- clarken, N. C. Callaree Jarvis Champion, Elizabeth Silverthorne, and Margaret Leggett Buck returned with ideas for a new form of youth organization in the church, the Conference Club. They quickly determined that it would not be wise to have this compete with Christian Endeavor, and so the two groups were linked as the Chris- tian Endeavor Conference Club. 33 Another sign of growth in the life of the church was the approval in 1926 of a Boy Scout Troop to be sponsored by the church. It was three years before the proposal was fully implemented with the es- tablishment of Troop 21 , Boy Scouts of America. Harry S. Gurganus was the first Scout Master. He was succeeded by M. W. Humphrey, and then R. E. King assumed leadership. King became a leader in scouting in the region, and added the Eagle Scout program to the troop. From the beginning it was clear that a boy could participate in the troop without being a member of the congregation, but the scouts Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 81 New church building, completed 1926 entered fully into the life of the church, often volunteering to assist in any way they could, from clean-up details to years of service in parking and traffic control. 34 When Richard Bagby arrived in Washington in 1919, the United States was flexing its new found economic muscle in the wake of the First World War. The war had brought economic and human devas- tation to much of the industrial base of Western Europe, and the American business community found itself able to provide, at sig- nificant profit, the things necessary for European recovery. This con- tributed to an economic expansion that was unparalleled in American history. Expansion fueled confidence that growth would continue, and that confidence led to speculation in many areas of the economy. A series of bad harvests in the American heartland in the mid- 1920s caused a few to doubt the rosy forecasts, but most American inves- tors kept up their efforts to borrow and borrow more with the expec- tation of even greater profits to come. The crash that has been symbolized by the collapse of the stock market in October of 1929 led to enormous hardship throughout the nation. Eastern North Carolina suffered the double misfortune of be- ing an agriculturally based economy in a time of rapidly falling ag- ricultural prices, and the area had continued to experience deep and 82 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church broad poverty throughout the rural areas even when the rest of the nation had prospered. The poor became poorer. First Christian Church lived through this period in pain with most of the people of the community. This was a church that had already committed itself to expressing concern for the poor. The Great Depression put the faith and values of the congregation to the test. Numerous references to concern for the poor of the community are found in the record prior to the arrival of Richard and Daisy Bagby in 1919. But with their appearance on the scene, the care and attention given to those in need became more organized and fo- cused. In September of 1919 a Social and Sick Committee was ap- proved. Composed of four women and one man, the committee was "to look out for new comers and the sick of the church, all sick to be reported to chairm. of Sick Committee." In December of that same year Bagby moved that the Board appoint a Relief Committee, with F. A. Lilley in charge. At the same meeting the Board authorized the treasurer to reimburse Reverend Bagby two dollars for a load of wood he had bought for a poor woman. Thereafter the minutes fre- quently reveal incidents of benevolent concern expressed by the congregation. 35 When the Depression hit, the church was ready to respond. Dur- ing the 1930s a committee, often referred to as the Charity or Poor Fund Committee, would report on its activities to the Board each month, but with few details in the minutes. The role of Richard Bagby in response to the Depression has achieved legendary proportions. Glenn Weaver tells a story about a time during his ministry when a man drove up to the church in a large and expensive car, and came in to see him. The man spoke of his plight during the Depression. He was a seventeen year old ap- prentice electrician in the Norfolk shipyards when he was laid off. He and his young wife returned to Washington where they had fam- ily, but no one was able to help. His wife was but thirteen, and preg- nant. With no place to stay, they were allowed to live in a chicken coop. After the baby was born, in such surroundings, with no relief in sight, the young parents decided to commit suicide, beginning with the murder of the baby. They made their peace with their situ- ation one night, with plans to sleep till morning, and then do the deed. Early the next morning, before they had stirred, there was a knock on the side of their crumbling shelter. Richard Bagby spoke gently, saying, "I heard about you and I have come to help." He Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 83 brought them some food, listened to their story of despair. He said, "I think I can get you a job." The man said to Glenn Weaver that the church, and Richard Bagby, had saved their lives. Soon after, the fear of war brought work back to the shipyards, and he was able to return and do well. He and his wife ultimately had six children, all of whom were college graduates by the time he told this story. He had become a wealthy man. He handed Weaver a large check, and asked only that it be used to help others as he and his family had been helped. 36 The church began to feel the impact of the economic downturn in the middle of 1930, when the church treasurer was authorized to borrow funds to meet basic church needs over the summer. Bagby read a letter to the Board indicating his desire to be of assistance: Owing to the present financial depression, I am writing to suggest that the Board consider the matter of reducing my salary. I believe that by a reduction of my salary, the financial problems that now face the church will [be] lightened. Any reduction which the church sees fit to make, will be agreeable to me. The Board discussed the matter, and said, "we sincerely appreciate his suggestion to have his salary reduced, but as we hope this finan- cial depression will not last long ... we hope that it will not be neccessary [sic] to do so." Bagby apparently raised the issue again at the next Board meeting, with the same response by the Board. The minister even went before the congregation, asking during a worship service that his salary be cut. 37 By the summer of 193 1 , the Board did respond to yet another request by Reverend Bagby to reduce his salary, though the reduction was modest, from $2,400 to $2,280 per year. At the end of 1932, the Board went through the same procedure, with Bagby asking that his salary be reduced, and the Board reluctantly complying, this time going down to $2,000. Six months later the salary was lowered to $1,800, again at the minister's request. 38 The oral tradition of the church remembers this series of events with the additional detail: At one meeting when the Board initially refused to lower Bagby 's sal- ary, he threatened to resign if they did not do so immediately. Pre- sumably Bagby wanted to make the point that he, like many others in the community, was suffering the consequences of the Depression. Otherwise he could have simply increased his own giving to the church with the effect of reducing his salary and increasing the church funds. 84 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church In December of 1931 Bagby was notified by the Pension Fund that his Pension Fund payment in the form of a check for $5.47 was being returned because his bank had closed. Of the three banks in Washington at the beginning of the Depression, only one, the Bank of Washington, remained open and survived the period without closing. 39 Despite the difficulties of the times, the members continued to support the program of the church. In November of 1933, after the every member canvass for pledges for the coming year, the Board reported that they had received more pledges than ever before, and that pledges for missions were running ahead of the previous year, and that the amount need for the church's current expenses was only ten dollars short of projected needs. Nevertheless, early in 1934 the church had difficulty meeting its bank payments, and a special drive to catch up on interest owed had to be undertaken. By the end of 1936 there was a shortfall of some $190, not a satisfactory situation, but it was not a threat to the stability or reputation of the church. 40 It may be that the first sign that the Depression was easing can be found in the Board minutes of August 11, 1936, when "the char- ity committee reported no calls for several weeks." 41 The overall ef- fects of the Depression would not end until the economic impact of the Second World War changed the world. During the years of Bagby's ministry the church continued to take the occasional stand on contemporary social and political issues. In 1921 the Board wrote State Senator Lindsey Warren and State Representative W. M. Butt, asking them to support the bill before the legislature for the establishment of a board to censor motion pictures. 42 In 1927 there was a stir over allegations of the teaching of ev- olution and biblical modernism at Atlantic Christian College. A committee was sent to visit the chair of the College Board of Trustees and present the following resolution: "We the official board of the 1st Christian Church do hereby in regular meeting assembled agree to withdraw all financial and moral support from Atlantic Christian College until said college ceases to teach Evolution, Modernism and the Book of Genesis is nothing but Babylonian Tradition." They sent a copy of the resolution to each trustee, and indicated that they ex- pected a response within thirty days. 43 The college, in the midst of a major fund drive, answered quickly. Five representatives from the college met with the Board to Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 85 "discuss with us the teachings of the College, and the necessity of the campaign to raise the $300,000 to carry on the work there." The concerns expressed in Washington had been raised at the State Con- vention, and a report to the Convention was shared and discussed by John Waters of the College. The visit of the five had the desired ef- fect. The Board, led by Richard Bagby, expressed appreciation to the representatives for visiting Washington. The next month a special committee appointed to look into the situation reported to the Board, but with no indication as to the nature of that report. The Board must have been satisfied, however, as the church continued to be a major supporter of the College in the years to come, including a pledge of $1,000 in 1929. 44 The questions of biblical interpretation would soon rise again, and not just in regard to what was taught at ACC. When Prohibition was repealed, the church reacted with letters of protest to legislators, and maintained support for the Prohibition movement. In 1934 the church hosted a county wide Prohibition meeting sponsored by the Beaufort County WCTU (Women's Chris- tian Temperance Union). But this was a losing battle. North Carolina moved to allow the sale of "light" wine and beer as soon as the eigh- teenth amendment was repealed in 1933, and by 1935 "the first County operated liquor store was opened" in Wilson. 45 Neverthe- less, despite the loss of several major battles, the church would con- tinue to fight the war of Prohibition. Evangelistic activity continued apace throughout the ministry of Richard Bagby. In the late fall and early winter of 1923, the church cooperated with the other major churches of Washington (although without being a co-sponsor) in a revival led by the Hamm-Ramsey Evangelistic Company. This was soon after the church had started meeting in the basement of the new church, and the combination of an effective revival and a new church building added about one hun- dred new members to the church in just a brief period. One of the results of this revival was the organization of the Beaufort County Christian Laymen's Federation. This was an ecumenical Christian men's organization, and several of the members of First Christian participated as officers and leaders, including E. Leon Roebuck and E. T. Harris. 46 Another community revival initiated by the Old Ford Church of Christ took place in the spring of 1929, led by Charles Reign Scoville. Scoville was a Disciple, and had become one of the most popular revivalists of the period among all denominations. He was a 86 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church person who commanded attention, and was an exceptionally creative speaker. 47 Scoville's method included elaborately detailed planning and or- ganization. And unlike many revivalists of the day, including the very popular Billy Sunday, "he did not turn his crusades into emo- tional binges." He once said, "When a person at a revival meeting sits and wrings his hands and rolls his eyes and groans and sighs like a dying calf, that's not religion, that's foolishness.'" 48 But he was colorful. In one of his sermons in Washington, he warned, "Don't wait until the hearse backs up to your door to take your wife to the cemetery before you come to Christ.'" And again, "'If the church is good enough to be buried in, it is good enough to be married in.'" 49 The revival was held in the Webb tobacco warehouse on Pierce Street, and a makeshift baptistry was installed for the event. Scoville also preached in both First Christian Church and the Old Ford Church of Christ during the course of the extended meeting. On one evening he was reported to have "hurled a broadside with his heavi- est artillery. . . . With his long arm raised acusingly [sic], his foot pounding the wooden platform like a triphammer, his eyes flashing fire and snapping with intense feeling," observers found words in- adequate to describe the experience. 50 On one Saturday evening a choir made up of 570 children from Washington churches sang. Throughout the revival, Sunday School classes from First Christian attended and sat together. The month long meeting ended on May 19, with 258 converts divided among the churches, and with thirty-three pledging their lives to Christian min- istry. A number of the converts joined the Christian Church. 51 The North Carolina Christian Missionary Society and the State Convention maintained their important place in the life of the First Christian Church of Washington. At the 1919 Convention, Richard Bagby was one of the featured speakers, and he served on the nom- inations committee. Mary Peele from Washington was named to the executive committee of the North Carolina Christian Woman's Board of Missions. The reports on support of missions showed that the Washington church was ranked third in total outreach giving in the state, and the Sunday School offerings for missions from Wash- ington were second in the state. 52 That same Convention saw the Temperance Committee expand its range of interest as it challenged the ministers of the state to en- courage their members not only "to exercise temperance in the soft Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 87 drink habit," but also to "warn them against the excessive use of tobacco, the indiscreet attendance upon moving picture shows which do not give proper moral or religious education, and all other indul- gences and/or participations which become not a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ." 53 At the 1920 State Convention Daisy Price Bagby served as Pres- ident of the North Carolina Christian Women's Missionary Society, the successor to the Christian Woman's Board of Missions. Richard Bagby was again a speaker at the Convention, and he served on the important Committee on Examination and Ordination. He was also appointed along with a few other ministers to travel the state raising funds in behalf of Atlantic Christian College, the children's home in Atlanta (Southern Christian Home), and the Home for the Aged in Jacksonville, Florida (now the Florida Christian Home). Washington ranked third in outreach support in the state, while the Sunday Schools at First Christian had moved into a tie for first in their sup- port of state missions. 54 The 1922 State Convention found Richard Bagby elected to the State Board of Directors. He was also asked to be a trustee of the Anti-Saloon League of North Carolina, and also be an alternate delegate to the Nominating Committee for the International Convention. 55 The Washington church served as host to state-wide Disciples meetings. In 1922 the congregation hosted the North Carolina An- nual Minister's meeting, and in 1928 the State Convention returned to the shores of the Pamlico. The records of that Convention show Bagby as still serving on the State Board of Directors of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society. E. Leon Roebuck was ap- pointed to a state committee on religious education. The Convention took note of the fine new facilities in Washington, saying that the building had been built "through the heroic efforts of Brother Bagby and his church, evidencing the progressive spirit manifest every- where throughout this great Old North State." Statistics presented at the Convention showed the Washington church still among the lead- ers in support of State and denominational outreach, ranking fourth behind Kinston, Wilson, and Greenville. 56 State Convention records for 1928 indicated that the Washington church was providing leadership for the Roanoke District. W. O. El- lis is listed as Secretary of the District Convention, and Jane L. Ran- dolph was recognized for her work as Secretary for the District Christian Women's Missionary Society. What is interesting here is 88 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church that just three years before this Convention, the Official Board of the Washington church raised questions about the Roanoke District. The missionary committee of the Board made a special report "relative to the advisability of making any further donations to Roanoke Dis- trict Convention." There were no further comments in the minutes of later meetings, and no elaboration as to why the church should sep- arate itself from the Roanoke Convention. Members of the church did continue to attend and give leadership at the district level, and the church did provide some funds for the district thereafter. 57 It is likely that this was the first indication of conflict that would divide the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) throughout the nation, the state, and even the Washington congregation. That division will be dealt with in the next chapter. By the mid- 1930s Richard Bagby was in his late sixties, and the strain of years of service, with added burdens in those years of De- pression, was beginning to take its toll. In 1935 the Board gave the Bagbys a two month vacation, a time "for a good prolonged and much needed rest." A young Timothy of the congregation who had just finished his seminary work at Vanderbilt was called to serve the church during Bagby 's absence, and then continue as Assistant Min- ister. Samuel F. Freeman, Jr., accepted the nearly impossible task of being Richard Bagby 's "replacement" and the rewarding opportu- nity to work with the aging minister. Freeman remained for a year before accepting a call to the Christian Church in Winston-Salem. 58 Freeman was replaced by another young minister, Harold Tyer of Bath, who had also just completed his ministerial studies at Vander- bilt. Tyer began in July of 1936 as Assistant Minister. He was to fill the pulpit while Bagby was on vacation, and then assist in the min- istry as needed through the summer months, particularly in educa- tion and calling. 59 A few months later Richard Bagby, now sixty-nine years old, re- alized that even an extended vacation could not restore him to the level of energy required to serve the Washington congregation, and he announced "that he wished to be retired as pastor as soon as a suitable successor could be found and that same must be found not later than next June." In January of 1937 Bagby agreed to stay until the end of the year if the church would call an assistant minister. By May Bagby had to chastise the pulpit committee for moving too slowly. Harold Tyer was brought back as an Assistant Minister in the summer of 1937, and Bagby soon realized that the young Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 89 man, although very young, had the gifts and graces to lead the congregation. 60 With Richard Bagby's enthusiastic support, Harold Tyer was called to be the minister of the First Christian Church beginning De- cember 1, 1937. The weary Bagby decided not to wait, and brought his ministry to a conclusion on November 7, 1937. 61 It was a day of sadness and celebration. The whole community felt a sense of loss as this pastor to the city took his leave. But it was also a time of cele- bration, rejoicing in eighteen and a half years of service, of loving care and concern that had yielded great results. The Washington Daily News reported on the planned retirement calling Bagby a "Washington Institution, a Washington Industry, a part of the heart of Washington." They remembered that he had come to the city "as a pastor of a small congregation among whom were few who possessed wealth. He inspired them by his love, his spirit of devotion and his life of unselfish service." Although he would now be retired, "as long as his heart beats he will always be the same kind counselor, friend and spiritual advisor that he has been through the years." Bagby was especially appreciated for his work among the poor. "When there was not such a welfare organization as we have now he has seen to it that the hungry had bread, that warm clothes were given to those who might be cold and his words of en- couragement have been a tower of strength to those in trouble." 62 American Legion Post 15, made up primarily of veterans of the Great War, had found in Richard Bagby one who had shared their experiences on the French battlefields, and one who had been with them in civilian life as a minister to those who have known the horror of war. One hundred strong, they marched through the streets of the city to the church so as to express their deep gratitude. 63 In Richard Bagby the First Christian Church of Washington found one who would show them what they wanted to be, a com- munity of faith known by the love and care shown to all of God's people. While no one and no congregation ever achieves such a goal, under Bagby they began to move in significant ways towards that ideal. Their greatest tribute to Richard and Daisy Bagby has been their continuing drive to be the kind of church that would be proud to call him their pastor. 1 Newspaper clipping from the Washington Daily News, "Church Scrapbook 1954-1958." 90 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 2 Washington Daily News, Church Scrapbook, 1954-1958. 3 RB 3, June 27, 1919; June 6, 1919; Washington Daily News (June 14, 1919), p. 1; (June 23, 1919), p. 1. 4 P. B. Hall, "An Astonishing Working out of Faith," Christian- Evangelist (July 10, 1924), p. 889. 5 "Richard Bagby Remembered," Chesapeake Christian (September 1948). 6 Interview with Ethel Gattis, July 26, 1988; "Richard Bagby Remembered." 7 Interview with Ethel Gattis, July 26, 1988; Interview with Harold Tyer, March 8, 1991. 8 RB 3, June 27, October 10, 1919. 9 Ibid., March 31, April 12, July 7, 1919; RB 4, p. 181. 10 RB 6, H. G. Winfield, Program of the 50th Anniversary, attached to p. 21; P. B. Hall, "An Astonishing Working Out of Faith"; RB 3, Feb- ruary 24, 1921; Richard Bagby, "My Work in Washington," Gospel Light (November 1941). 11 Margaret Winfield, "Seventy-Five Years of History," in 75th An- niversary 1891-1966, First Christian Church, Washington, North Carolina (Washington, NC: First Christian Church, 1966), pp. [3-4]. 12 H. G. Winfield, "First Christian Church Building Program," Gos- pel Light (November 1941); Washington Progress (May 26, 1921); RB 4, p. 173. 13 Hilda A. Bowen, "A Large Family," manuscript of memoirs of Hilda A. Bowen, Church files, First Christian Church; Margaret Leggett Buck, manuscript reminiscences, Church files, First Christian Church; RB 6, E. Ray Swindell, Program of the 50th Anniversary, attached to p. 21. 14 Evelyn Phillips Taylor, manuscript reminiscences, Church files, First Christian Church; H. G. Winfield, "First Christian Church Building Program." 15 H. G. Winfield, "First Christian Church Building Program." 16 Ibid.; P. B. Hall, "An Astonishing Working Out of Faith"; E. Leon Roebuck, "Building Fund," Gospel Light (November 1941). 17 RB 4, pp. 214, 218; Margaret Winfield, "Seventy five Years of His- tory"; Washington Daily News (August 19, 1952), p. 1; Hilda A. Bowen, "Memoirs of a Little Church No Longer There," in 75th Anniversary 1891- 1966, First Christian Church, Washington, North Carolina (Washington, NC: First Christian Church, 1966), p. ; Richard Bagby, "My Work in Washington". 18 Paul B. Ellis, letter to Wilbert Owens, February 10, 1979, Church files, First Christian Church. Beloved Apostle: The Bagby Years 91 19 B. Frank Leggett, "The Bible School," Gospel Light (November 1941); RB 4, p. 252; RB 5, p. 173. 20 Richard Bagby, "Washington (N. C.) Dedication," Christian Stan- dard (January 1, 1927), p. 14; "Washington Church Dedicated," North Carolina Christian 1 (December 1926): 5. 21 RB 4, p. 234; RB 5, p. 202. 22 Richard Bagby, "My Work in Washington." 23 RB 3, December 11, 1919. 24 RB 4, pp. 188-189, 239-240. 25 RB 5, pp. 191-192 and passim. 26 Ibid., pp. 241-242; In 1929 the Board first discussed the Pension Fund of the Christian Church, and a Congregational meeting of February 16, 1930, approved of participation in behalf of the minister. Ibid., pp. 228, 233. 27 Ibid., pp. 248-249, 270-271. 28 Evelyn Phillips Taylor, Reminiscences. 29 RB 4, pp. 194, 196; RB 5, pp. 20-21, 46, 63. 30 Margaret Leggett Buck, Reminiscences; RB 4, p. 248. 31 Fortieth Anniversary Program, Willing Workers Class, Church files, First Christian Church. 32 RB 5, pp. 249, 21. 33 Callaree Champion and Margaret Buck, "Christian Endeavor and Conference Club Merge," Gospel Light (November 1941). 34 RB 5, p. 169; R. E. King, "Boy Scouts," Gospel Light (November 1941). 35 RB 3, September 4, December 11, 1919. 36 Interview with Glenn Weaver, June 3, 1987. 37 RB 5, pp. 237, 241-242; Interview with Mary Potter, July 27, 1988. 38 RB 5, pp. 252, 260, 9. 39 Letter from G. F. Prewitt to Richard Bagby, December 16, 1931, Pension Fund files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society; Lonnie Squires, "The Great Depression," in Washington and the Pamlico, edited by Ursula Fogleman Loy and Pauline Marion Worthy (Washington, NC: Washington- Beaufort County Bicentennial Commission, 1976), pp. 128-129. 40 RB 5, pp. 14, 19, 24, 41, 58. 41 Ibid., 52. 42 RB 3, January 16, 1921. 43 RB 5, p. 188. 92 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 44 Ibid., pp. 190-191, 231. 45 Ibid., pp. 6, 34; Washington Daily News (April 30, 1934), p. 1; Hugh Talmage Lefler and Albert Ray Newsome, North Carolina: The His- tory of a Southern State (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1973), pp. 613-614. 46 RB 4, p. 231; R. B. Hall, "An Astonishing Working Out of Faith"; Washington Daily News (January 25, 1924), p. 1. 47 Lester G. McAllister and William E. Tucker, Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1975), pp. 326-327. 48 Ibid. 49 Washington Daily News (April 23, 1929), pp. 1-2. 50 Ibid., (April 18, 1929), p. 5; (April 26, 1929), p. 6; (April 29, 1929), p. 1. 51 Ibid., (April 27, 1929), p. 2; (May 20, 1929), p. 1. 52 Year Book of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of North Carolina for 1920, pp. 2, 3, 8, 31, 44. 53 Ibid., pp. 8-9. 54 Yearbook of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of North Carolina for 1921, pp. 2-3, 10, 20-23, 33. 55 Yearbook of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of North Carolina for 1923, pp. 2, 6. 56 North Carolina Christian 3 (June 1922): 5; Yearbook of the Chris- tian Church (Disciples of Christ) of North Carolina for 1929, pp. 2, 7, 40. 57 Yearbook 1929, p. 2; RB 4, p. 256. 58 RB 5, pp. 38, 42, 50. 59 Ibid., p. 51. 60 Ibid., pp. 54, 59, 63; Interview with Harold Tyer, March 8, 1991. 61 RB 5, pp. 68-69. 62 Washington Daily News (November 6, 1937), p. 4. 63 Ibid., (November 2, 1937), p. 8, (November 8, 1937), p. 1. Chapter Six Conflict and Growth With the departure of Richard Bagby First Christian Church of Washington entered a period of change and uneasiness, even serious conflict and division. Some of what was experienced represents the normal process of adjustment in a congregation after a long and suc- cessful ministry. But the times were anything but normal. When Harold Tyer was called to be minister of the church in the fall of 1937, Hitler was preparing his moves on Austria and Czechoslova- kia. Japan had already invaded China, and Mussolini's troops were finishing up their barbarous invasion of Ethiopia. The world was moving towards war. Harold Tyer came to Washington virtually as a Timothy of the church. He had been raised in rural Beaufort County, just west of Bath in the Athens Chapel community. He had studied at Atlantic Christian College, and then ventured to the west, to the School of Religion at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee, a progressive ecu- menical seminary that was related to the Disciples through the Dis- ciples Foundation (later Disciples Divinity House). Here Tyer had received his graduate ministerial education in a context of many de- nominations and a faculty that was world-renowned. When he returned to Eastern North Carolina, the twenty-three year old Tyer brought with him an outstanding education that was then shaped under the gentle and wise tutelage of a superior parish minister, Richard Bagby. For one so very young, Harold Tyer was exceptionally well prepared for congregational service. Despite his preparation, Tyer later said, No ones knows with what fear and trembling I took upon myself the responsibility of the spiritual welfare of the church. With a lit- tle experience and tender in years, I was taking upon myself a tre- mendous responsibility. But the church was well organized and possessed able leadership. The patience and love of the members 93 94 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church was far beyond my expectations. Under the fruitful ministry of my predecessor, they had learned the principles of the kingdom. It was a progressive church with a fine Sunday school and a live wire missionary organization. 1 Under Tyer's leadership, the church used the occasion of the fif- tieth anniversary of the founding of the church as an opportunity to celebrate the life of the church and also to pay off the remaining debt on the building. In March, 1941 , one of several ingenious schemes to raise money for the debt was revealed: The church would sell Victory Bonds issued in one, five, and twenty-five dollar denominations. It was even possible to buy the bonds on an installment plan. 2 Various church school classes accepted the Victory Bonds as a challenge. The Men's Bible Class pledged a thousand dollars by mid October, and the Women's Bible Class and the Willing Workers Class pledged five dollars per class member. The various youth classes and groups offered some $150. A "Whittler's Club," estab- lished in 1940 to help on church finances, was pressed into service for the debt reduction. A long staff of wood, marked in one inch in- crements, was displayed in the church. Each inch represented $100. As each member or group in the church raised a hundred dollars, that segment of the staff was "whittled off." 3 By the end of September enough had been raised to pay off the debt, and the celebration of fifty years of life and witness was high- lighted by the burning of the mortgage. Greetings were presented from the local churches. Three charter members were present: A. B. Whitley, Jesse Whitley, Jane L. Randolph. A number of members of the church gave recollections of the early days of the church. The meal following the service was described as "Sweet fellowship. . . . It was truly a day of celebration and thanksgiving." 4 During Tyer's tenure at the church, the women's organizations went through a period of restructure. From the first decade of the church's life, there had been two women's organizations in the church, the Ladies Aid, and the Women's Missionary Society, orig- inally known as the Christian Woman's Board of Missions. In June of 1938, the two groups were joined to form the Women's Council, and they were sub-divided into eight groups called circles. The new structure, following a constitution suggested by the United Christian Missionary Society, also combined the purposes of the two earlier organizations, support of the congregational program and the larger mission concerns of the Disciples. 5 Conflict and Growth 95 Women's Sunday School classes, about 1950 96 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Throughout the history of First Christian Church, and most of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the women's missionary organizations have served not only to raise funds for outreach, they provided the primary mission education program of the church. This reality was known to the women. At a meeting of the Women's Council in 1939, in a discussion of how to get the men of the church interested in the mission work of the church, Billie Lee Hope said that "to do this we must train our children." 6 To imply that the adult men were beyond hope must have evoked more than a few chuckles. The Women's groups also served as a place where the women of the church learned about and discussed the major issues of the day. In 1940, during a program on the lack of freedom in the world, con- cern was expressed about Jews and their plight in a world of Nazis and war: Today the Jews are the no. 1 refugees of the world. They are also God's chosen people. We have accepted Christ yet we spurn his chosen people. Guard your attitude. Put yourself in the place of the wandering refugee. To deny refuge to others would destroy some- thing very precious in our heritage, for our forefathers were refu- gees seeking a place of religious freedom. 7 And it was the Women's Council where members of the church first began to discuss within the church issues of race relations. At the first meeting of the full Women's Council, a Black woman, Pat- tie Jones, was present to give a report on a conference to be held in Winston-Salem. The next month Billie Lee Hope gave a devotional on the topic of "One Blood." She was reported to have "made a very instructive and inspirational talk in which she revealed to us the astonishing fact that we truly are 'of one blood.' She stated that sci- entists and doctors are unable, when given a specimen of blood, to tell if the blood came from a white person or a black." At the same meeting a speaker from the Beaufort County Welfare Department re- ported on housing and unemployment in Washington. She spoke of "the great need for better housing conditions in our town, especially in the colored section, where she said there are but a few screens, a few decent houses, and very little chance for sanitary living." She concluded with a word of appreciation for the congregation's assis- tance to the Welfare Department, and the women "promised our continued aid in the future in alleviating the conditions among the poor in our town." 8 Conflict and Growth 97 In addition to learning, and daring to consider new ideas, the Women's Council worked in creative ways to raise money to support missions and the local congregation. Among other things, they saved box tops from Quick- Arrow Soap Flakes, for which they received five cents per top; they saved Octagon Soap wrappers, and ex- changed them for silverware and china for the church kitchen. For several years they sold vast amounts of Jell-O chocolate pudding and metal sponges to raise money. 9 Throughout the records of the Women's Council there is an im- pression of how faithful these women were in following the program developed by the Disciples United Christian Missionary Society and published monthly in World Call magazine. They learned about the mission of the church throughout the world. They studied issues ranging from evangelism to ways to help the hungry to questions of social justice and education. Through the Women's Council the women of the church received an ongoing education in what the church does, and they responded in creative ways to raise as much money as possible to meet as many needs as possible. Furthermore, their concern for world missions was reflected in their concerns for those immediately around them. They called on the sick within the church and they also assisted the poor within the community. They revealed a strong sense of knowing who — and whose — they were, and the importance of their role with the church. They addressed some of the most difficult issues of the day, including war and peace, racism, and world hunger, without flinching. During these early years of the Women's Council, they were under the strong leadership of Presidents Essie Roebuck and Etta Lee Cooper. 10 Harold Tyer observed the end of his first year as pastor of the church by serving as host for the State Convention of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society. The Convention took place November 9-11, 1938, and many of the delegates stayed with mem- bers of the congregation on the "Harvard plan, which means that each delegate provides for his own dinner and supper." Breakfast was provided by the host family, generally for a total fee of $1 .00 for the two or three nights involved. 11 Over a thousand registered for the convention, making it the largest in North Carolina Disciples history to that date. John Waters, speaking to the Convention "with force, pungency, and originality," urged the gathering, "to safeguard our churches from irresponsible preachers." Under the leadership of the Temperance and Social Wei- 98 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church fare Committee, the Convention called for the church to "identify itself with the struggle for an economic order making possible a more abundant life for all." They condemned war, upholding "the right of any man or woman to refuse to support any war in which this country might become involved." They expressed concern for "excessive ex- penditures" for the military and the international arms race. They stated, "We will support any student from our churches in his con- scientious objection to military training." 12 The Convention also expressed concern about race relations. Af- ter "an impromptu talk by Everett J. Harris, rural minister, in behalf of an adequate helpfulness toward colored Disciples," a committee on inter-racial relations was appointed. Harold Tyer was named to this committee. The Temperance and Social Welfare Committee re- ported, "We view with alarm the spirit of intolerance throughout our country. We deplore the denial of civil liberties to any minority group among us, regardless of how much they differ from the pre- vailing opinion, economically, politically, or socially." They also took a strong stand against mob violence and lynching, and called for a reform of voting processes. 13 The Convention in addition addressed issues of the economic or- der, saying that they "recognize the evils of tenantry" farming, "and urge the State and Federal governments to work out a system by which the tenant can become owner of the land. We advocate the exemption from taxation of small homesteads occupied exclusively by the owner, and a graduated tax on large land holdings to discour- age excessive large farm acreage." They also urged state crime of- ficials to make use of psychology and sociology, and they asked the state legislature to bring an end to capital punishment. 14 A number of Washingtonians provided leadership or were elected to leadership by the Convention. B. Frank Leggett served on the State Missions Apportioning Commission; Essie Roebuck is listed as recording secretary of the state Christian Women's Mission- ary Society; E. Leon Roebuck is noted as a member of the auditing committee; Jane L. Randolph was chosen for the historical commis- sion, and Anne Tyer was elected Vice-President of the Ministers' Wives Council. 15 The first State Convention to meet after the nation went to war was also held in Washington. The November 4-6, 1942, Convention drew some 730 delegates, a good number given the restrictions on travel already in place. Harold Tyer urged Disciples to come to Conflict and Growth 99 Washington, suggesting car-pooling as a way of dealing with gaso- line and tire shortages. Olin Fox, minister of the First Christian Church of Goldsboro said, "Think not for one moment that you are being unpatriotic in using your cars for this purpose. President Roosevelt has, in his letters to our church leaders throughout the country, made it definitely clear that church gatherings are, not only important but necessary to the life of the nation at this time." The efforts of the Washington church to plan the Convention received high praise. An article reporting on the Convention in the North Carolina Christian said, "The local church did a magnificent job in caring adequately for the convention. In fact it did so well we will have to revise the catch phrase 'Washington — the Original' to 'Washington — The Unbeatable.' Washington women are a marvel- ous group of workers." 16 The 1942 Convention encouraged the churches to participate in the Federal Council of Churches (predecessor to the National Council of Churches) and the North Carolina Council of Churches. The Tem- perance and Social Welfare Committee again called for "a more just and Christian social order" that would provide economic security for all people, "provide for all who are unable to earn their living," work for racial tolerance and voting rights for "all citizens of all races and classes, . . . provide for the rehabilitation of inmates of our penal institutions," and assist in feeding "the starving people of the small European democracies, to contribute to funds for China relief." 17 The Convention also considered the issue of war even as the na- tion was coming to the end of that first dark year of the Second World War. These Disciples gathered in Washington declared their belief "that war is un-Christian" and they deplored "the present condition of the war and the inability of nations to settle disputes by peaceful means." They upheld "the rights of conscientious objectors of war." The Inter-racial Relations Committee, under the leadership of Harold Tver, presented its concerns about the impact of the war on "rising tension between the races during this national and world cri- sis. We fear the ultimate disaster that may be caused by discrimina- tion against the Negro race in our National Defense efforts." 18 These were bold words to speak in a day of heightened emotions and fears. While the Disciples in Washington and North Carolina were clearly united in their opposition to war as a legitimate way to settle international disputes, they also were united in their support of the 100 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Allies, aware that in life choices are not always between right and wrong, but often between wrong and wrong, or in this case, wrong and worse, far worse. At the January 6, 1943, meeting of the Board, Harold Tyer notified the church that he had volunteered to be a navy chaplain, but did not know when he would be called up. The church agreed to grant him a two year leave of absence or for the duration of the war, and a vacation of one month with full pay beginning Feb- ruary 1 . A few weeks later Tyer learned that he would not be ac- cepted into the service, presumably because of a head and back injury sustained some nine years earlier. Tyer knew that the Wash- ington church had by this time already obtained the services of an interim minister, and he did not feel that he could ask to be re- instated. As a result he resigned on April 9 so that the church would be free to proceed to find a permanent replacement. He soon ac- cepted a position with the church in Asheville, North Carolina. 19 Harold Tyer's immediate replacement was Richard Henry Cross- field (1868-1951) who came as an interim minister. Crossfield was one of the most distinguished ministers among the Disciples. He had a Ph.D. plus three honorary doctorates. He had served churches in Kentucky, Virginia, and Alabama. He had been President of Tran- sylvania College, William Woods College, and the College of the Bi- ble. He was a respected author and leader in many areas of national and international church life. 20 While President of Transylvania and the College of the Bible, Crossfield presided over a turning point in Disciples history, and in a significant way helped lead the Disciples in the direction of mainstream Protestantism and participation in the major ecumenical movements of the twentieth century. More of this will be considered later in this chapter. Having R. H. Crossfield as an interim minister, even if he was seventy-five years old, caused other Disciples to sit up and take note of the congregation on the Pamlico. Unlike many interim ministers who see their tasks to be primar- ily a matter of care-taking while a church seeks a new minister, Crossfield moved actively into the life of the community. He spoke to local civic clubs, made addresses on the radio, and in his first month in Washington made 198 calls on members and potential members. He gave a series of lessons during Sunday evening ser- vices on "Religion in a World at War." With a title that must have tantalized, and perhaps even scandalized, the town, he announced Conflict and Growth 101 four Sunday evening addresses on "The Religion of Hitler, Musso- lini, Stalin, and Washington." By May he had to urge the pulpit committee to move more aggressively. 21 With firm pressure from Crossfield, the Board began to look se- riously for a new minister, and on July 4, 1943, met with G. Curtis Jones from Tazewell, Virginia. He was called to serve the church with a beginning date of September 1 . In George Curtis Jones Wash- ington had obtained a talented, hard-driving vigorous minister. Jones was thirty-two when he and his wife Sybil arrived in Washington with the first of what would be five sons, Curtis, Jr. Jones had stud- ied at Lynchburg College and received his seminary degree from Yale. Over his ministry he wrote over twenty books, and served at some of the leading Disciples churches. 22 Jones gave precise monthly reports on his activities to the Board, reports that show something of the energy he brought to the office of minister. In addition to preaching twice a week and leading the Wednesday evening prayer service, he averaged well over a hun- dred pastoral calls per month, and often reported large numbers of letters sent out. By November he was able to make progress on one of his favorite concerns, tithing. Jones firmly believed in the minis- try of stewardship. He challenged people to put their money and their faith where they liked to say it was. He particularly encouraged members to consider giving ten per cent of their pay, or a tithe, to the church. In his December 1943 report he noted that forty-three mem- bers had decided to tithe after a series of sermons on stewardship. (One young member of the church who was away in the military ser- vice the entire time that Jones was minister, recalled years later that while he never met G. Curtis Jones, he received letters from him en- couraging him to tithe his pay.) One result was that the church bud- get doubled during the two years of his ministry in Washington. 23 G. Curtis Jones' time in Washington corresponded with the most active period of American forces in World War II. From the beginning of the war, the church had expressed its concern and of- fered its prayers. On December 9, 1941, the Board called upon the congregation to pray "for the Pres. of the U. S. during the greatest tribulation our country has ever faced." A few months later the Board wrote each member serving in the military. On Jones' first day in Washington, a meeting of the Official Board of the church was interrupted by a signal to go to blackout conditions. 24 102 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church The church engaged in a number of activities to help those who were in the service. Communion sets were purchased for Disciples military chaplains; The Women's Bible Class provided meals for the U.S.O. and wrote those in the military; announcements about war bond drives were made at Board meetings; Christmas gifts were bought for members in the service. One of the most important forms of participation in the war effort was the Week of Compassion pro- gram begun in February of 1944 to help refugees of the war. Orga- nized by the Wartime Services Fund of the Disciples international office, this became a major source of emergency relief funds for all kinds of situations, and one of the favorite outreach programs of the Washington church. The first Week of Compassion campaign sought $900, representing ten dollars for each of the 90 members of the church in the service at that time. By the end of the war, some 144 members were in the military, representing almost fifteen percent of the total membership. 25 During the 1940s the church entered the electronic ministry age by occasionally broadcasting their services over the radio, and later by having ministers lead their own radio programs. At least as early as February of 1944, G. Curtis Jones had a Saturday afternoon radio feature called * 'Tomorrow is Sunday.' ' Radio time was initially pro- vided gratis by the W. R. Roberson family, and then made available at very low cost. 26 In the fall of 1941 the Board approved the formation of a com- mittee to explore the possibility of a church sponsored kindergarten, but nothing came of the plan. When G. Curtis and Sybil Jones ar- rived in town, and began to seek a kindergarten program for their son, they first raised the matter with the church Board to see if there might be interest within the church for a kindergarten. The response was polite but without enthusiasm. In the spring of 1944, the Jones family let it be known that their son would be attending the next ses- sion of a kindergarten run by the Catholic Church. The goad was used to good effect. At the May 21, 1944, meeting, the Board ap- proved plans to establish a kindergarten immediately. Retired mis- sionary, Etta Nunn, was called to serve as director. 27 The kindergarten was to be housed in the old parsonage adjacent to the church building, with the church nursery and children's church program using the space on Sundays. The parsonage had recently been vacated with the purchase of the Currier home near the church on Second Street. The first kindergarten class had 45 children. Pau- Conflict and Growth 103 line Walker was employed to serve as an assistant to Etta Nunn. But Nunn's position was soon altered due to the desire of the church to have her on the church staff. She was made Minister of Missions. Walker became Director of the Kindergarten. 28 Etta Nunn (1874-1958) a native of New Bern, gave her life to the church for whatever purpose she might be used. It was said that she "lived with a Christian abandon." She studied at Peabody Col- lege (now a part of Vanderbilt University), the University of North Carolina, the College of Missions (operated by the Christian Wom- an's Board of Missions in Indianapolis), and even studied music for a year in New York. She worked in Mexico after several years of rep- resenting various missions groups across the Southeast. When the Depression forced the United Christian Missionary Society to cut back on operations, Etta Nunn became general secretary of the Vir- ginia Woman's Christian Missionary Society. 29 When Etta Nunn joined the church staff, she became the second person to work alongside G. Curtis Jones. Berta Henderson had been called in February of 1944 to be Director of Religious Education and assistant to the minister. Henderson came from Texas, where she had worked with churches and studied at Texas Christian University. While most of her responsibilities were directly related to Christian education, Jones saw to it that she had broader pastoral experience as well. She made pastoral calls, made the "Tomorrow is Sunday" ra- dio broadcast, and even presided in worship on occasion, an unusual act of leadership for women at that time. 30 The ministry of G. Curtis Jones to the community, the state, and the national (and international) work of the church continued to move the congregation as a leader in witness and mission. Like Harold Tyer before him, Jones led worship at the nearby prison camp for Black males. In 1944, while serving as President of the local min- isterial association, he guided the churches in new areas in race re- lations. He reported to the Board, "Your pastor had a ministers' meeting this month with all the white and colored preachers of our community. The purpose of this meeting was to promote better in- terest and cooperation between all of our churches and to help our town and country authorities with problems involving the need of improving the operation of certain places in our neighborhood." The next year he participated in an interdenominational, interracial ser- vice of celebration and cooperation. This would become an annual event in Washington, with each succeeding minister of the Christian 104 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Church deeply involved in planning and support. Jones was also a regular speaker at Atlantic Christian College, and organized a new camping program for Disciples youth in North Carolina. Jones even worked on a regular basis with the Washington High School football team. Towards the end of his ministry in Washington Jones was asked by the Federal Council of Churches to "prepare a prayer that will be read over the Mutual Broadcasting System during stressful moments in America." 31 At a special meeting of the Board on May 2, 1945, G. Curtis Jones read a letter of resignation, indicating that he had accepted a call to become Associate Minister of the Central Woodward Chris- tian Church in Detroit, perhaps the pre-eminent church among Dis- ciples at that time. Jones indicated that the decision was a hard one to make, but that the opportunity to minister with, and study with, Edgar DeWitt Jones (no relation to G. Curtis) was not to be passed by. The resignation was received by a period of complete silence from the Board. As words came into their mouths, Board members expressed deep regret, and yet pleasure for their pastor. They had known from the start that Jones was a very young minister who would go far, they had only hoped that he would be able to share his gifts with them a bit longer. A few months later Berta Henderson also resigned in order to accept a position at Central Woodward. 32 After a very brief interim by R. H. Crossfield again, the church extended a call to M. Elmore Turner (1906-), then serving the First Christian Church of Corbin, Kentucky. He arrived in Washington with his family — wife Irene McDonald, and children Patricia, Kath- leen, and Michael — in early August of 1945, and set immediately to work. Turner, a native of Richmond, Virginia, attended Lynchburg College and the College of the Bible. He had done further study at the University of Chicago, and taught religion for a few years at Lynchburg. He had also spent two years on a special mission assign- ment with an English speaking Disciples church in Cape Town, South Africa. 33 As had been the case with previous ministers of the Washington church, M. Elmore Turner was called upon to provide leadership in the city, the district and the state. Soon after arriving he was the first person elected Vice-President in the newly created Albemarle Dis- trict Union of the Disciples, and in 1947 was elected President. He also served as Vice President of the North Carolina Disciples Min- isters' Association, and President of the State Convention of the Conflict and Growth 105 North Carolina Christian Missionary Society. Locally, among other responsibilities, he served as a member of the advisory board of the Salvation Army. 34 As with G. Curtis Jones, much of Turner's ministry concerned the operations of the kindergarten at the church. Pauline Walker left the position of Director in the spring of 1947, and was replaced by Mary Exum Blackwell. The next year Callaree Champion was made Director. Etta Nunn led the congregation to encourage other churches in town to cooperate on the kindergarten. After three years the Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches joined in the program to create the Community Kindergarten, with plans to continue to use the facilities of First Christian Church for several more years. 35 The education program that had shown marked growth in the thirties and early forties began to grow with incredible speed during the ministry of Elmore Turner. While much of the increase should certainly be attributed to the time and attention given to education by the church, the reality was that Turner came to the church at the end of World War II, and the beginning of the Baby Boom. For the next twenty years there would be children filling every nook and cranny in the church. Beginning early in the 1940s, in addition to an education com- mittee, the church established a Workers' Conference, more appro- priately, a Sunday School Workers' Conference. This was an organization for those who taught in the church school program and provided them with training and encouragement. Education leader Callaree Champion served as President of the North Carolina Adult Conference in 1945. And the Washington Sunday School was ranked second in the nation among Disciples for the number of new Sunday School pupils. 36 After Berta Henderson left the church, Sara Katherine Burner was called to be Director of Religious Education, her work to begin September 1, 1946. Burner was a native of Ohio, studied at Tran- sylvania College and received her Master of Religious Education from the College of the Bible in 1946. She served for only thirteen months before resigning in order to marry James Chandler. Burner was succeeded by Mildred Lois Robertson, a native of Memphis, Tennessee. She, too, had studied at Transylvania and the College of the Bible before accepting the position at Washington. She remained in the position for some two years before moving elsewhere. 37 106 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church The church then turned to an Atlantic Christian College student, Wilbur Ballenger, who served on weekends during the period from the winter of 1950-1951 through 1952. He turned down an offer to continue at the church in order to serve as pastor of a small congregation. Through this period of rapid change in educational leadership, the educational program of the church continued to evolve. By 1945 the youth program had taken on the name of Christian Youth Fel- lowship. Elmore Turner began what appears to have been the first "Pastor's Class," intended for older children as they approached the age to consider church membership. Etta Nunn, meanwhile, had al- ready organized a "junior congregation" as an alternative for young children to the full worship service. For a time Etta Nunn and Pauline Walker led a Sunday School program on the west side of the city as a way to encourage more regular attendance by children on that side of town. The church even had a summer Sunday School class at River Acres in 1948. It was a time of innovation. 39 The Scouting program continued to grow during the forties and into the fifties. In 1943 a Cub Scout Pack was added with Phil Willis as Cub Master, to be succeeded by Wade Waters when Willis was called into the military. William J. Dunn took over the Scout Master position from William Ellis that same year and gave many years of service. By 1950 plans were underway to add an Explorer's troop. 40 Newspaper announcements about the schedule of services at the church during Turner's ministry portrayed the morning worship as "centered in the Lord's Supper." This was certainly an appropriate description of the place of importance for Holy Communion for Dis- ciples. But during this time the significance of the Breaking of the Bread was taken to a new level for the congregation. The decision was made to take the Lord's Supper to the sick and shut-ins. This began as a once per month, and then weekly, program of the Evan- gelism Committee which later turned the matter over to the elders and deacons. 41 It appears that another innovation under Elmore Turner, one that would also continue to the present, was the dedication of babies. The first reference is in 1947 on Mother's Day. As an indication of the impact of the War Babies, in 1948 invitations were sent out to 34 mothers for the dedication service! 42 At the beginning of the twentieth century, the most common weekly schedule for Protestant churches in America was worship on Conflict and Growth 107 Sunday mornings and evenings, and a Wednesday evening service often referred to as a "prayer meeting." Even before World War II this pattern was beginning to break down, with both Sunday evening and the prayer meeting beginning to suffer from lack of attendance. At the same time, heightened expectations of ministers, including quality of sermons, counseling, leadership in the community, and ad- ministration, were making it increasingly difficult for ministers to provide strong leadership at three separate services each week. The pressure to change arrived at First Christian Church in Washington at least by 1938, when attempts began to be made to revitalize the two evening services. 43 At the February 7, 1945, Board Meeting, members were encour- aged to attend the Sunday evening services, particularly since "the attendance has been on the decline for some time." Later that same year Mr. Jimmy Roberson suggested that the minister "work with worship committee to work out someway to increase value of one of two services — midweek or Sun. night and dispense with one of them." Turner responded by saying the lack of attendance indicated to him that the Sunday evening service was not needed. 44 It is clear that the two evening services were on their way out, even before the advent of television in Eastern North Carolina. While not the cause of decline, it is likely that the addition of the "box" to almost every home in the 1950s sealed the fate of evening church programs. 45 The experience of First Christian Church was shared by most other Disciples churches across the nation, and most of the mainline Protestant denominations, with the one exception of the Southern Baptists. Another issue related to worship arose during Turner's ministry. At the December 2, 1945, meeting of the Board, a letter from or- ganist Vivian Weatherly was presented in which she outlined the problems with the organ. She spoke of numerous times we have waited in suspense wondering if the or- gan would come on. ... At other times one note would stick throughout the entire service. . . . Quite often with various changes of the weather, one note or another won't play. . . . Many times ... I have felt like quitting. ... I highly recommend the purchasing of the best new organ we can afford. 46 The Board began talking about the problem, and Vivian Weath- erly kept reminding the Board about the utter frustrations of trying to 108 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church lead worship with such an instrument. The Board finally chose to have expensive repairs made, and the organist continued to suffer for over twenty-five years before a new organ was purchased. 47 From the beginning of the congregation's history, there had been no fellowship group for men. The women had organized early on, and had developed a sophisticated program. Although the Official Board had been a strictly male enclave for a couple of decades, it was narrowly focused in purpose, and only elected members could fully participate. The Men's Bible Class provided some of the op- portunities men needed for study, service, and fellowship, but it was not as open-ended as the women's groups. In 1948 State Secretary Charles C. Ware addressed the State Convention asking for more at- tention to men's work in the churches. As a result the men of the Washington church met in 1950 at the Rendezvous Restaurant under the leadership of E. Leon Roebuck and formed a "Layman's League," which then became the Christian Men's Fellowship. Once organized, the Washington CMF helped organize a district CMF. 48 The habits of helping those in difficulty, developed in the earli- est days of the life of the church, nurtured to maturity under Richard Bagby, continued to bear fruit in the forties. During the war this sometimes meant going before the Ration Board to intercede in be- half of an individual or family that had special needs, taking special offerings for the poor, contributing to the Week of Compassion pro- gram, and sending Christmas boxes of food to poor families. At a time of mass hardship and starvation in Europe and Asia in the af- termath of the Second World War, Reverend M. Elmore Turner was involved in the organization of Beaufort County for the Christian Ru- ral Overseas Program (CROP), one of the most effective ecumenical crisis relief organizations of the century. In 1948 Turner reported that Beaufort County had collected "farm produce and canned goods with a total weight of 50,100 pounds for shipment overseas." 49 The church also continued to be very supportive of Disciples outreach causes, especially Atlantic Christian College. Total giving to Disciples outreach during this period generally averaged fifteen to eighteen percent of the annual budget. 50 A new program supported by the church in the 1940s was the teaching of Bible at Washington High School. The issue first emerged in 1938 with no decisions made. Curtis Jones brought the matter before the Board with a request from the Ministerial Associ- Conflict and Growth 109 ation that the school board be asked to allow the Bible to be taught as a regular course for credit, but with funding by the churches of the city. The church Board approved. In 1945 M. Elmore Turner re- ported that plans had progressed, and a teacher had been employed. For many years to come this would be one of the most widely sup- ported ecumenical activities in Washington. 51 Prior to the 1940s, election to the Official Board carried with it regular re-election so long as the person wanted to serve. A look at the list of Board members in 1940 reveals most of the names of those who were serving in 1920. The continuity of leadership provided strength. The lack of regular turn-over and fresh ideas was a weak- ness. In 1947, as Disciples churches around the country were re- examining their structure, First Christian Church began to do the same thing. Elmore Turner urged the Board to read a new book which dealt with committee work in the church. This was almost cer- tainly The Church Functioning Effectively by Orman L. Shelton. The book described a new way of organizing the work of the congrega- tion using "functional" committees. The primary work of the church would be done by these committees composed of members of the church — members who do not have to be Board members. The Official Board would become a general oversight and policy making body of the church. An executive committee made up of committee chairs would give primary leadership. 52 The Washington church Board studied the recommendations of the Shelton book, and in 1948 heard Turner suggest the formation of a church cabinet composed of the chairs of the ten standing commit- tees. A beginning was made towards the concept of functioning com- mittees. The process would be brought to completion during the early years of the ministry of Raymond L. Alexander. 53 An adequate parsonage remained a problem for the church. The old parsonage behind the church had been taken over to provide needed educational space. An older home across from the church on Second Street was only minimally acceptable, but both the Jones family and the Turners lived there. In 1945 the church purchased a lot on Market Street and planned to build a parsonage there. But the plans changed when the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) an- nounced a major campaign, Crusade for a Christian World, to raise funds to build 200 new churches, help the churches to grow, and re- cruit ministers and missionaries. The goal of $14,000,000 was not 1 10 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church reached, but the church did raise ten million dollars, saw a period of growth in members and enthusiasm for the mission of the church. Under M. Elmore Turner's leadership, the First Christian Church of Washington accepted the challenge of the larger church. They put aside plans for a new parsonage, and instead contributed $21 ,000 to- wards the Crusade. Only after that campaign was finished in 1951, did the work on raising funds for a new parsonage resume. 54 Etta Nunn still served the church as Minister of Missions during Elmore Turner's tenure at the church. But she felt that she was not pulling her own weight, and in the summer of 1947 asked that her salary be reduced by at least one-third. At first the Board did not want to comply, but finally acquiesced and lowered her salary by one-sixth. By 1951 she refused a salary altogether, so the Board made arrangements to pay for her apartment rent. She continued to call on the sick and shut-ins, she taught the Women's Bible Class, and assisted with the kindergarten. In all these areas of her ministry, she was a spiritual leader, much beloved by the congregation. 55 Throughout his service as minister to the Washington church, M. Elmore Turner continued the practice of his predecessors in working for racial justice and harmony. In addition to working ac- tively in behalf of the annual inter-racial, interdenominational ser- vice held each May, he led the church in financially supporting Black delegates to a Disciples Christian education leadership program for Black churches; he spoke at the General Assembly of the Eastern As- semblies (Black Disciples); preached on issues of race (one sermon was entitled "In the Presence of Race Hatred"); and taught in the Vacation Bible School of the Mt. Hebron Christian Church, a Black Disciples church in Washington. His commitment was deep, and his witness effective. 56 Earlier in this book there is a discussion of the division between the Disciples and the non-instrumental Churches of Christ. In addi- tion to all of the purely Disciples issues involved in that schism, it is also correct to say that the division was a Disciples response to a conflict that spread throughout world, especially American Chris- tianity during the period from about 1875 to about 1925. This con- flict, called the Modernist-Fundamentalist controversy, was rooted in radically opposing concepts of how to interpret the Bible, and the relationship of the Christian faith to the modern world. The Disciples followed the direction of modernism, accepting modern methods of biblical interpretation, and the benefits and in- Conflict and Growth 111 sights of the modern sciences. The Churches of Christ, characterized by their opposition to instrumental music in worship, followed many of the tenets of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism in its various forms particularly emphasized a literalist approach to the interpre- tation of the Bible, and upheld a number of doctrinal beliefs as es- sential, or "fundamental," to being a true Christian. All of the mainstream churches in America participated in the controversy, and most experienced a schism over it. Just when the Disciples thought that they had weathered their own storm in this Modernist-Fundamentalist debate with the loss of only ten percent of their members, the same conflict raised its head again, beginning soon after the turn of the twentieth century. As with the controversy with the non-instrumental Churches of Christ, much of this division had to do with the degree of emphasis put on "Res- torationism," the idea that the goal of the Disciples was to "restore" the primitive purity of the New Testament church. A particularly strong period of discord came in 1917 when mem- bers of the faculty at the College of the Bible were charged with her- esy in teaching modern methods of biblical interpretation. The Board of Trustees of the seminary refused to hold a heresy trial, and concluded by supporting the faculty. This led conservative, Resto- rationist, Disciples to begin to form their own colleges and seminar- ies. The struggle took place publicly in the various magazines of the denomination, with the Christian Standard, published by the Stan- dard Publishing Company in Cincinnati, in the forefront of the Res- torationist cause. The next place of battle was in the United Christian Missionary Society over the question of whether or not the UCMS allowed its missionaries overseas to accept people into their churches without first immersing them. The issue of baptism became the litmus test. According to the conservative Disciples, only immersion was bap- tism according to the New Testament, and thus only the immersed can be members of the church. Many, though not all, would also say that only the immersed can be saved. When the activities of the missionaries of the United Christian Missionary Society were upheld in the International Convention in 1926 (activities which denied that they were accepting the non- immersed into their churches), the Restorationist party in the church formed its own national meeting, the North American Christiar Convention, beginning in 1927. 112 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Now, with two competing national conventions, with separate groups of colleges and seminaries, there was clearly the beginning of a second schism in the church. Further, the conservative Disciples said that their experience with the United Christian Missionary So- ciety led them to distrust any structure outside of the local congre- gation. Some, but not all, would even argue that a missionary society is not a biblical idea, and thus has no place in the church. The result of this was a move to have each congregation, acting indepen- dently, to support independent missionaries. Thus the conservative, Restorationist Disciples came to be called "Independents," and the Disciples who supported state and national missionary societies, came to be called "co-operatives." In parts of the country, including Eastern North Carolina, the Independents went by the name "Church of Christ," while the Dis- ciples almost unanimously used "Christian Church," frequently with "Disciples" or "Disciples of Christ" in parentheses. In the Southern states west of the mountains, and on across to the Pacific coast, the Independents generally used the name "Christian Church," so as not to be confused with the non-instrumental Churches of Christ. This confusion of names puzzled people within as well as outside of the Disciples tradition. The conflict between the two sides had already spilled over into the congregations by the mid- 1920s. When the issue moved from the pages of magazines and the debating stands of conventions, and found its way into Sunday School classes and Board meetings, the issue took on many local questions of power and personality and long-standing family conflicts. In the national context the struggle was over great questions of theology and interpretation of scripture. In the local congregation, the great issues sometimes gave way to personal attack and controversy. When a local congregation divided, families were divided, friends were separated, and the wounds left were deep and hard to heal. The issue reached Washington in the early 1920s. Just prior to the Annual State Ministers' Meeting held in Washington in 1922, a regional "Restoration Congress" was held at the church. Among the speakers were leaders of the national and North Carolina Indepen- dents. Speeches included a talk on "How to Overcome Atheistic Teaching in our Schools and Colleges," "The United Society and the China Mission," "Destructive Criticism [the name given to Conflict and Growth 113 modern interpretations of the Bible]: Its Origin, Methods, and Progress." Another speaker talked on "Inspiration, Infallibility, Im- mutability of the Bible." Registration cards for the event included the following statement: Believing the Bible to be Inspirited, Infallible, and Immutable Word of God (in that sense which it represents itself to be such), and therefore the absolute and unquestionable source of authority on matters containing to Christianity, and being opposed to any so called religious teaching in our schools and colleges or upon the part of any of our missionaries that has the effect of compromising or setting at naught any of its declarations as to matters of fact and commands enjoined upon us by the inspired writings by the Apos- tles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: I subscribe myself a member to this congress. 57 The early concerns expressed by the conflict can also be seen in the questions raised in 1927 with Atlantic Christian College over the teaching of evolution and the modern interpretation of the Bible. But the debate did not become clear in Washington until the late thirties. The most common interpretation of how the battle between the Independents and Co-operatives began in Washington is that in 1938 Bible School Superintendent B. Frank Leggett won an award from the Standard Publishing Company and their Lookout magazine for being the Sunday School Superintendent of the Year. His prize was an opportunity to attend the Leadership Week at Lake James Chris- tian Assembly. This annual gathering could be described as an in- tense week of learning about matters of organization and operation of an effective Sunday school program, with many opportunities to learn the value of Sunday school curriculum materials published by Standard Publishing. Another view would be that in addition to this opportunity to learn about Sunday schools, and receive training in the Standard materials, it was also a carefully developed school in the Independent cause. 58 B. F. Leggett returned from his Lake James experience, and ap- parently began to try to organize the church in favor of the Indepen- dent perspective. He was opposed in this by the young minister, Harold Tyer, who had been educated in the modern interpretation of the Bible at Atlantic Christian College and Vanderbilt. Tyer sees this as the critical point of the struggle, but believes that earlier efforts to 1 14 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church move the congregation in the Independent direction had been effec- tively stifled by the gentle spirit of Richard Bagby. Leggett had led the Sunday School to support an Independent missionary in Africa as early as the mid-thirties. But now, with a young, inexperienced, and relatively powerless minister, those who believed that the conserva- tive, Restorationist perspective was the only faithful way to be Chris- tian, began to plan and organize. 59 In the spring of 1939, Leggett and Frank Butler, among others, arranged to have Earl H. Fife preach a revival at the Washington church. Fife was a strong supporter of the Independent cause, and Leggett had met him at Lake James. Apparently under the leadership of Leggett, the elders were called together to consider inviting Fife to preach the revival. The minister was not informed about the meeting, but walked in on the elders out of curiosity about lights on in the church. Tyer then wrote some leaders of the church around the coun- try who had had experiences with Fife, and the responses, particu- larly from State Secretaries, indicated that Fife had worked to lead congregations away from the Disciples wherever he had been active. Even after hearing the report from Tyer, the elders chose to have Fife come. 60 Tyer remembers the revival beginning with strong attendance, but tapering off rapidly after the first couple of nights. By the last night only a few came. After the last service Fife confronted Tyer about the report he had made to the elders. Tyer in turn visited Rom Silverthorne, who then was the chair of the Board of Elders, and found him in full support of Tyer and the co-operative position. The overwhelming majority of the church also rejected the position of the Independents. 61 As a result, the Independent group in the church organized an Independent Missionary Society of the First Christian Church in the fall of 1939. They declared their "main purpose ... is to study mis- sions in local and foreign fields, and to determine those which de- serve aid and which were not adequately supported, and to offer them both our spiritual and our financial backing." They were crit- ical of money raising schemes (such as those currently used by the co-operative women's groups in the congregation), and were pleased that all monies raised could go directly to Independent missions, their only cost being postage. Under their sponsorship, leading In- dependents from across the country came to the church. Lyda Res- pass, President of the Independent Missionary Society for much of Conflict and Growth 115 its history, was also given an opportunity to write for the monthly magazine, The Gospel Light, edited by B. F. Leggett. The magazine became an organ for the Independent perspective. Also, the Roanoke District Union came under the leadership of Independents, result- ing in the formation in 1946 of the Albemarle District for the Disciples. 62 The conflict over Independents and Cooperatives certainly con- tributed to the difficulties faced by Harold Tyer in his ministry. But the choice of successors to Tyer did not help the Independent cause. It must have been a particularly painful blow to the Independents when not once, but twice, R. H. Crossfield was called to the church to serve as an interim minister. Crossfield had been President of the College of the Bible during the attempt to have a heresy trial, and he had been one of the primary supporters of the liberal cause. G. Cur- tis Jones recalled the period as one in which the basic conflict was already over when he arrived. He described the Independent faction in the church as "adroitly annoying." 63 The clearest sign, however, that the church would not go the di- rection of the Independents was when B. Frank Leggett, soon after the Fife revival, was not invited to remain as Bible School Superin- tendent. Deeply hurt by being rejected by his beloved church, Leg- gett soon resigned as elder. By the mid- 1940s the Treasurer's reports indicate that the church had stopped using Standard Publishing Com- pany materials, another indication of the weakening position of the Independents. Just when the Independents actually left the First Christian Church is not clear. They established their own church in 1954, the First Church of Christ of Washington. It is quite likely that most had been attending rural Independent churches for some time prior to this, as there seems to have been virtually no Independent activity in the church after the first couple of years of M. Elmore Turner's ministry. 64 That the Washington church continued with the co-operative, or Disciples side of this conflict is seen in the many ways in which the church continued to participate in the life of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In 1949 the State Convention was again held in Washington. Some 1,200 participated in the gathering. Washing- ton's Director of Religious Education, Mildred Robertson, was elected Treasurer of the Convention and a member of the Educational Commission and the Temperance and Social Welfare Committee; M. Elmore Turner was elected Chair of the State Board and representa- 1 16 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church tive to the North Carolina Council of Churches; Essie Roebuck was elected First Vice President of the Christian Women's Missionary Society and also served on the Temperance and Social Welfare Committee. 65 The Convention took a strong stand on working together with and for the Black Disciples in the state. Specifically the Convention asked the church and the United Christian Missionary Society to as- sist the Black Disciples in strengthening the Goldsboro Christian In- stitute, building a home for aged Black Disciples, and bringing a state worker to work among their churches. They also asked "that there be an exchange of regularly elected delegates between our con- ventions." The Convention supported the efforts of the National Council of Churches in their interracial programs so that there might be "a better understanding of each other and a united service for Christ." 66 The 1949 Washington Convention of the North Carolina Chris- tian Missionary Society also took a strong stand against Indepen- dents who would disrupt and divide the church. The Ministerial Character Committee reminded ministers that it is their duty "to co- operate with every worthy Brotherhood enterprise, and to manifest a courteous Christian attitude towards other Christians in every pos- sible way." They sought "to discourage un-Christian criticism based on hearsays, and on unfounded rumors, and not based on fact. We believe that toleration, forbearance, and Christian patience is more becoming a Christian whether minister or laymen." 67 In Washington, perhaps no action was more indicative of sup- port for the cooperative cause than the decision to become a Living Link church. At the May 23, 1945, meeting of the Board, G. Curtis Jones and Etta Nunn presented a request from the Women's Council asking that the church participate in the Living Link program. Etta Nunn reported on her own experience as a Living Link missionary. She pointed out that this would mean a more direct connection be- tween a missionary in a foreign field and the congregation. The name of Claylon Weeks, a native Tar Heel soon to begin serving in the Congo, was mentioned. The Board and the congregation approved. 68 In October it was reported to the Board that Claylon Weeks had indeed been assigned to the church as a Living Link Missionary. Over the next several years the church enjoyed its special relationship Conflict and Growth 117 with the Weeks family, and maintained contact on a regular basis. When the Weeks returned to the United States on furlough in 1949, they visited their Washington family for the first of many visits. The relationship built an understanding of the balance between service and evangelism in the mission field. And the Weeks received letters, gifts, encouragement and love from the congregation. 69 It had been a tumultuous fifteen years since Richard Bagby had retired. Three ministers, two interim ministers, a minister of mis- sions, and four DREs later, the church was looking at the emerging boom period of the fifties, boom period for the churches at least. There was some sense among a number of the leaders of the church that a change of ministers would serve the church well. M. Elmore Turner resigned effective October 31, 1952. He soon moved to the Broad Street Christian Church in New Bern. 70 During the seven years of his ministry in Washington, M. El- more Turner welcomed 307 new members, 165 by baptism, Sunday School attendance increased from 298 to 420 per Sunday. The church fulfilled its commitment of $21,000 to the Crusade for a Christian World, and work was drawing to a conclusion on a new parsonage. The kindergarten expanded to an ecumenical base with three teachers and almost seventy students. Turner had served as President of the State Convention, as well as of the Albemarle District Union, and had chaired the board of directors of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society, the state organization of Disciples. It had been a busy ministry. 71 1 Harold L. Tyer, "My Ministry Here," Gospel Light (November 1941). 2 RB 6, pp. 7-8; Newsletter of the First Christian Church Bible School (March 31, 1941). 3 "Washington Church Issues Victory Bonds," Gospel Light (May 1941). 4 Harold L. Tyer, "Washington Church Celebrated 50th Anniversary Last Month," Gospel Light (December 1941); RB 6, Program of Fiftieth Anniversary, attached to p. 21. 5 Secretary's Book for Women's Council, no. 1, pp. 28, 30, 36. 6 Ibid., no. 2, p. 33. 7 Ibid., p. 46. 8 Ibid., no. 1, pp. 28-29, 32-33. 118 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 9 Ibid., no. 1, pp. 39, 43. 10 Ibid., nos. 1 and 2. 11 "Send Your Name to Washington," North Carolina Christian 19 (November 1938): 1 . 12 "1938 Convention," North Carolina Christian 19 (December 1938): 2; Supplement to vol. 20 (August-September 1939): 10-11. 13 "1938 Convention," North Carolina Christian 19 (December 1938): 2; Supplement to vol. 20 (August-September 1939): 5, 10-11. 14 North Carolina Christian Supplement to vol. 20 (August-Septem- ber 1939): 5, 10-11. 15 Ibid., pp. 2, 3, 12. 16 Harold L. Tyer, "Welcome to the 98th Convention," Gospel Light (October 1942); "The Washington Convention," North Carolina Christian 23 (December 1942): 2. 17 North Carolina Christian 24 (August 1943): 6, 9. 18 Ibid., pp. 9-10. 19 RB 6, pp. 49-51; Pension Fund files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society; letter from Harold L. Tyer to Board Chair C. O. Jordan, attached to RB 6, p. 57. 20 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 21 RB 6, reports attached to pp. 52, 54, 58; pp. 54, 56, 58-59 22 RB 6, pp. 61-64; Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 23 RB 6, reports attached to pp. 72, 74, 84; Conversation with Richard L. Harrison, Sr. 24 RB 6, pp. 23, 33, 67. 25 Ibid., pp. 70, 84-85, 90, 101; Women's Bible Class Record Book, November 4, December 2, 1943, February 3, December 7, 1944; RB 6, in- serted report of the Minister, October 31, 1945. 26 RB 6, pp. 31, 111, inserted report of the Minister, April 18, 1944. 27 RB 6, pp. 20, 96; Conversation with G. Curtis Jones, August 1, 1985. 28 RB 6, pp. 105, 130, inserted report of Director of Kindergarten, October, 1944. 29 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society; John A. Tate, Chesapeake Christian (August 1958). 30 RB 6, pp. 89-90, 91, 93, inserted reports of the Director of Reli- gious Education, March 9, April 18, May 9, June 8, September 4, 1944; Washington Daily News (February 26, 1944), p. 1. Conflict and Growth 119 31 RB 6, inserted report of the Minister, February 10, March 9, April 18, May 9, June 8, October 12, 1944, May 13, 1945. 32 Ibid., pp. 133-134; RB 7, February 3, 1946. 33 RB 6, pp. 141-147; Washington Daily News (August 2, 1945), p. 1; Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 34 Charles Crossfield Ware, Albemarle Annals (n.p.: n.p., 1961), p. 6; RB 7, inserted reports of the Minister, October 1947, February 28, 1946, November 1947, September 1948. 35 RB 7, April 6, September 7, 1947, inserted report of the Minister of Missions, January, February 8, May 2, May 23, July 4, July 9, 1948, July 5, 1950. 36 Record Book of the Sunday School Workers' Conference, May 17, October 19, November 15, 1945; RB 7, May 2, 1948. 37 RB 7, May 5, 1946, September 7, 1947, Pension Fund and Bio- graphical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society; George Voiers Moore, editor, Centennial Directory of the College of the Bible (Lexington Theolog- ical Seminary) (Lexington, KY: College of the Bible, 1965), p. 399; RB 8, p. 31. 38 Pension Fund files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society; RB 8, p. 67. 39 RB 6, inserted reports of the Minister and Minister of Missions, September 30, October 31, 1945; RB 7 inserted report of the Minister, April 1949; RB 7, October 6, 1946, August 1, 1948. 40 RB 6, pp. 57, 60, 74, 93, 95; RB 8, p. 33. 41 Scrapbook 1946, pp. 4ff; RB 7, December 8, 1946, January 5, 1947, March 6, April 3, 1949. 42 RB 7, May 4, 1947, inserted report of the Minister, May, 1948. 43 Secretary's Book for Women's Council, no. 1, p. 30; RB 6, p. 19. 44 RB 6, pp. 122-123, 158. 45 RB 7, January 6, 1946, inserted report of the Minister, February 28, 1946, RB 7, February 2, 1947, March 7, September 5, 1948. 46 RB 6, pp. 160-161. 47 RB 7, April 7, 1946, August 1, 1948, February 6, March 6, 1949; RB 8, pp. 26, 39. 48 E. Leon Roebuck, "Brief History of Christian Men's Fellowship of Washington, N.C., First Christian Church," typescript in church files. 49 RB 5, pp. 76, 94, 96; RB 6, pp. 20, 37, 135, inserted report of the Minister, December 31, 1945; RB 7, inserted report of the Minister, Decem- ber, 1948. 120 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 50 RB 5, pp. 74, 86; RB 6, pp. 35, 75, 92; RB 8, p. 61; RB 7, No- vember 24, 1946, November 6, 1947. 51 RB 5, pp. 78, 84; RB 6, p. 149, inserted report of the Treasurer; RB 8, p. 13. 52 Lester G. McAllister and William E. Tucker, Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1975), pp. 412-413; Orman L. Shelton, The Church Functioning Ef- fectively (St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1946). 53 RB 7, January 4, 1948. 54 RB 6, pp. 135-136, 148, 158-159; RB 7, September 7, 1947, May 2, May 16, September 5, 1948; RB 8, pp. 23, 25, 67, 79; Letter from M. Elmore Turner to Richard L. Harrison, Jr., April 15, 1991. 55 RB 7, July 6, 1947, April 4, 1948, September 2, 1951, inserted re- port of the Minister of Missions, October 1947. 56 RB 7, April 7, 1946, April 4, 1948, inserted report of the Minister, October 1947, April, May 1948, April, June 1949,; file of Minister's reports to the Board, June 1952; Washington Daily News (May 1, 1948), p. 1.. 57 North Carolina Christian 3 (June 1922): 5. 58 B. Frank Leggett, "The Bible School," Gospel Light (November 1941); Letter from Marshall J. Leggett to Richard L. Harrison, Jr., April 29, 1991. 59 Interview with Harold Tyer, March 8, 1991; B. Frank Leggett, "The Bible School." 60 Interview with Harold Tyer, March 8, 1991; Interview with Harry D. Pelletier, March 8, 1991. 61 Interview with Harold Tyer, March 8, 1991. 62 Mrs. E. T. Meredith, Jr., "The Independent Missionary Society of the First Christian Church," Gospel Light (November 1941); Gospel Light (April 1940), (May 1940), (July 1940), (July 1942), (May 1943), (August 1944). 63 B. Frank Leggett, Jr., "Divisions Among Christians," unpublished typescript manuscript; Conversation with G. Curtis Jones, August 1, 1985. 64 B. Frank Leggett, Jr., "Divisions"; Marshall J. Leggett, "Quiet Heroism," Christian Standard (May 10, 1987), pp. 1, 5; RB 6 and 7, in- serted reports of the Treasurer; Gospel Light (December 1954); RB 6, in- serted report of the Minister, September 30, 1945. 65 "Washington Convention," North Carolina Christian 30 (Decem- ber 1949): 2-3; 31 (August 1950): 2, 4, 11. 66 North Carolina Christian 31 (August 1950): 9. 67 Ibid., pp. 15-16. Conflict and Growth 121 68 RB 6, pp. 138-140. 69 Ibid., p. 153; RB 7, March 3, May 5, 1946, inserted report of the Minister of Missions, December 1947, inserted report of the Minister, July 3, 1949. 70 RB 8, p. 82. 71 "M. E. Turner Resigns at Washington, N. C," Christian- Evangelist (October 29, 1952), p. 1080. Chapter Seven Maturing in Faith and Service "Will it play in Peoria?" was on the mind of Wilbert Owens when he traveled to that Illinois city to interview a prospective min- ister for the First Christian Church of Washington. Raymond Lee Al- exander (1907-1981) listened to Owens, pondered and prayed, talked long hours with wife Betty, and decided to pursue the possibility of moving from the prairie to the coastal plain. In January of 1953, he accepted the invitation to come to Washington. 1 Alexander was a Kentuckian, a son of a minister, an artist and horticulturalist. He had received his bachelor's degree from Transyl- vania College, had a degree in religious education from Lane Sem- inary in Cincinnati, and his Bachelor of Divinity degree from the College of the Bible. He was a serious student, had pursued further study with the rabbis at Hebrew Union Seminary and had taken courses at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. Ray and Betty had two sons, David who was finishing his college work at Transylvania, with plans to enter the College of the Bible in the fall of 1953; and Bill, who was in junior high school when the family came to Washington. 2 On April 10, the Alexanders moved into the brand new parson- age just built on North Market Street. And at the church the new minister found a new secretary, Evelyn Morris. 3 The congregation was healthy, sharing in the general sense that the church was the place to be in American society. Churches across the country were growing rapidly, buildings left unattended and unkept during the De- pression and World War II now began to be repaired and replaced. Although the nation was still embroiled in the "Police Action" known as the Korean conflict, a new President, D wight Eisenhower, had been elected on a promise to bring that war to a close, and so he did. (Two members of First Christian Church were in the service dur- ing the Korean War, Sam Wilson and Fred Adair. Upon their return to Washington, they were invited to serve on the Board.) 4 123 124 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Alexander immediately set out to become acquainted with the congregation and the community. Over the years of his ministry he would serve on the Brown Library Board, the Redevelopment Com- mission, the Good Neighbor Council; he became President of the Beaufort County Ministerial Association, the Albemarle District As- sembly, the State Convention of the North Carolina Christian Mis- sionary Society, and he served on the State Board of Managers of the Missionary Society, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Atlantic Christian College, the College of the Bible, and Transylvania Col- lege. He served on various committees of the International Conven- tion of the Christian Church, including the very important Nominating Committee. He continued the radio ministry of his pre- decessors, now with a program entitled "Religion in the News" on station WHED (which later returned to WRRF). For a period he also gave a weekly devotional on television station WITN. At least two months per year the regular Sunday morning worship services were broadcast on the radio. 5 The fifties were a time of seeking contentment, an age charac- terized by the popularity of Norman Vincent Peale's "power of pos- itive thinking" ideas. The population, caught between the security of the post World War era, comforted by the economic strength of the decade (at least until the last two years of the fifties), were also trou- bled by being the first atomic age generation, and living in a cold war. Themes of comfort, security, happiness represented a craving for stability and order. Alexander responded with, among other things, a series of sermons on "How to achieve happiness and per- sonal well-roundedness." 6 Alexander also put the church to work reorganizing itself, de- veloping leadership ability for the laity, and making plans for signif- icant new forms of ministry. Progress had been made under Elmore Turner to move the church to a functional committee system. During the period between Turner and Alexander the Board had begun a study of a rotating Board system that would allow a regular turnover in church leadership. In his first meeting with the Board, Alexander asked all committee chairs to begin meeting with him monthly as an advisory committee (this would soon become the church cabinet). By October of 1953 the Board was ready to move, and with the ap- proval of the congregation several changes were adopted: 1 . Board members would be elected in a rotating fashion, meaning that a year must elapse between three year terms of service; 2. The Board of Maturing in Faith and Service 125 Elders would serve as the nominating committee for the Board; 3. That there would be fifteen elders, forty-five deacons, and fifteen or more deaconesses. The church continued the practice of ordaining elders, deacons, and deaconesses. 7 While changing the organizational structure of the church Board to make it more efficient and representative, the church also moved forward in program development. No area was more important than the plans to bring in a new staff person to work in the area of edu- cation. For several years the church had enjoyed the leadership of a Director of Religious Education, and the Board planned to pursue another person for this post. In May of 1955 Churchill Goodwin Moore was called to serve as Minister of Education. The change in title from Director of Religious Education to Minister of Education was more than mere nomenclature. The typical DRE had at most a one or two year master's degree, with heavy emphasis on education. They were generally not ordained, and often were limited in their ar- eas of competence in ministry. The Minister of Education was to be an ordained minister, fully prepared with a three year graduate pro- fessional degree, the Bachelor of Divinity (now the Master of Divin- ity degree). The Minister of Education would be capable of serving in all areas of ministry. 8 Goodwin ("Goody") Moore was a native of near-by Ayden. He attended East Carolina College before transferring to Atlantic Chris- tian College. He studied at the College of the Bible 1952-1955, and wrote a thesis on "The Emergence of Religious Education as a Specialized Ministry and its Function in Restoring Wholeness to the Church." Moore was also an accomplished organist. His position at Washington was his first full-time ministry. As a youth he had served as President of the North Carolina Christian Youth Fellowship, and had served as chair of the worship committee of the International Christian Youth Fellowship Commission. He was prepared to make an impact on a congregation and a state in Christian education and youth ministry. 9 Under Moore's guidance, the youth program in the church began to grow. The youth became more involved in the life of the church, and their enthusiasm spilled over into the city, and in ever-widening Disciples circles. In Moore's first year, two youth of the church worked with their Minister of Education to write a drama concerning the Christian World Friendship Fund, and presented it before the first State Christian Youth Fellowship Convention in December, 126 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 1955 . That same month Moore and the young people of the congre- gation organized the Washington United Christian Youth Movement, an ecumenical youth program for the city. Donald Ambrose from First Christian Church was elected president. 10 The next year Moore attended a convention of the National Council of Churches at which he participated in sections working on Christian education and youth work. The youth, meanwhile, were moving into leadership among the Disciples. In September of 1956 Donald Ambrose and Lou Warner were installed as District CYF officers, and they reported on their attendance at a meeting of the International CYF Commission. During the November State Con- vention of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society, Am- brose was elected State CYF President, and Lou Warner was chosen as Chair of the State Enlistment Committee. (At that same Conven- tion William Dunn had been elected State CMF President, and Ray- mond Alexander commented that perhaps the church should engage in a little political activity so as to elect the state President of the CWF!) During the youth portion of this 1956 State Convention, a pageant, written, staged, and directed by Goodwin Moore, was presented. 11 Throughout the ministry of Goodwin Moore, the youth of the church gave of their time and resources to support the church and outreach ministries of the church. As an example, in 1957 they pre- sented the church two brass vases to be used on the communion ta- ble. The Chi Rho regularly worked to help poor families have a better Christmas by gathering or buying foodstuffs, toys, and cloth- ing. The CYF painted the social room and repaired the stage during the summer of 1959. Like their grandparents during the construction of the church, the youth raised money for the building of the Bagby- Nunn Education facility. 12 By 1957 the youth group had grown, with an average of fifty-six attending the Sunday morning Church School class and fifty-two at the Sunday evening program. That year Wyni Jane Everett was elected President of the District CYF, and Beverly Gautier was Dis- trict Study chair. Goodwin Moore spent much of 1957 serving as State CYF advisor. 13 The next year Jimmy Silverthorne was elected Study Chair for the International Christian Youth Fellowship, and thus also a place on the International CYF Commission. Goodwin Moore called this Maturing in Faith and Service 127 "the highest honor any young person has ever brought to this church." Raymond Alexander pointed out that only eight people from the entire denomination serve on the CYF Commission at any one time. "This is a signal achievement and a signal honor for this church." 14 One of the leadership development projects instituted by Good- win Moore was the annual planning retreat for the CYF executive committee. The youth leaders and their adult sponsors, along with the ministers of the church, would spend a weekend, usually at a riv- erside cottage, for planning, prayer, and fellowship. The youth were given significant responsibility to plan the next year's youth pro- gram, with the adults serving as resource people rather than direc- tors. One result of this would be the development of future leaders of the church, and a number who would offer themselves for Christian ministry. 15 Young people of the church continued to be chosen to serve as leaders for the larger church. In 1959 Brenda Toler was elected Pres- ident of the District Chi Rho, while Carol Adams and Mike Willis were elected District CYF officers. Willis in that same year was elected to the International CYF Commission, the second consecu- tive year the church was represented on the Commission by youth. Goodwin Moore also served as an adult member. Locally, Danny McNeil and Billy Jarman were elected as officers of the United Christian Youth Movement in Washington. In 1960 Glenda Day and G. E. Cooper were elected District Chi Rho officers. 16 The content of the CYF program under Moore's leadership in- cluded serious study of a wide range of topics. In 1962 he reported that the CYF was "conducting a unity of study on Christian under- standings and beliefs.' ' A few months later the CYF studied the var- ious religions in America, including "unusual Protestants," Roman Catholicism and Judaism. During this study a number of the youth visited a worship service at Temple Israel Synagogue in Kinston. Rabbi Jerome Tolochko met with the youth and talked with them about Jewish faith and practice. Meanwhile, the CYF had also par- ticipated in the national Books are Bridges Contest, and in 1959 had won top place in the country for reading the most books. The Wash- ington young people reported 584 books read during the year. 17 It was with deep regret that the church received a letter of res- ignation from Goodwin Moore in November, 1962. Moore had ac- 128 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church cepted a position with the Seventh Street Christian Church in Rich- mond, Virginia. Moore expressed his appreciation for the op- portunity to work with the church for seven and a half years. 18 Moore's departure was also lamented in the local press. Mary M. Toler, writing in the Washington Daily News, said, "Washington is going to miss Goodwin Moore." She noted that he had "not only served his church well, but his service to the youth of the church has gone 'well beyond the call of duty.'" Along with the youth of First Christian Church, he had worked with the other youth in Washing- ton. "As a talented musician, he has never failed to answer a call of his friends in other Washington churches." 19 After organizing in 1950, the Christian Men's Fellowship of the Washington church continued to be active. By 1955 E. Leon Roe- buck was serving as District President of the CMF (and President of the Albemarle District Union at the same time), and in 1956 William Dunn was elected President of the State CMF. 20 During the 1950s the Men's Bible Class grew to over 140 mem- bers with twelve teachers, and an average attendance of over 100 per Sunday. Before and after class, many of the members would stand along the sidewalk just outside the Academy Street entrance to the church basement — and their classroom — greeting passersby, talk- ing, and adding substantially to the economy of Eastern North Caro- lina by polishing off dozens of cigarettes. In addition to fellowship and study, the class has been a primary source of benevolent concern for the church and the whole community of Washington. 21 Evangelistic methods in the 1950s changed little from the pre- vious two decades. It seemed that if the church tried, it was success- ful in reaching people and moving them to join the church, to become involved in the life of faith lived in that community. So it was throughout the city and the country. During the 1950s church membership reached the highest level in American history. The evangelism program of First Christian Church during 1954 was typical of the period. A spring revival was planned for Easter week, this time with Raymond Alexander as preacher. The results were gratifying. Almost fifty joined during the revival, including a number of young people who had participated in a four week long "Pastor's Class" on the meaning of church membership, the life of faith, and the basic teachings of Christianity. The evangelism com- mittee conducted visits to homes of prospective members in the weeks prior to Easter. There were baptismal services both Palm Sun- Maturing in Faith and Service 129 day and Easter, the Easter Sunday baptisms took place during the evening in a candlelight service. 22 The next month twenty-two men of the church spread out over the town, visiting eighty-seven homes over a three day period, talk- ing with people about the church. The result was another forty-seven additions, with thirty-six receiving baptism. Another period of vis- itation was planned for the next two weeks. In the fall President Travis White of Atlantic Christian College preached a revival. His sermons were meaty feasts for people who wanted to learn about the Christian faith, and think about its deepest meanings. 23 While evangelism is at the heart of much of the mission of the church, stewardship is one of the primary areas of concern for living the Christian life. Stewardship on the part of a congregation deter- mines much of the quality of witness by that congregation. Raymond Alexander understood this, and was committed to teaching and preaching about stewardship and the level of giving known as tith- ing. He was confident that if people would tithe for six to eight weeks it would become permanent for their lives. 24 Just as the church committed itself to youth in the ministry of Goodwin Moore, so the church also moved ahead with the building of new educational facil- ities. Concerns about education space had been raised as early as the mid- 1940s. One month after Raymond Alexander arrived, the issue was brought up as a matter of pressing concern. By 1955 Alexander was addressing the Board on the need for more adequate space for the older youth, and a building committee was appointed to seek ways to deal with the matter. In February of 1956 the Board accepted the recommendation from the Building Committee to move forward with a new education building, with initial estimates of $150,000 for the facility. In October of that same year the Wells Organization was employed to lead the church in the capital campaign. 25 The fund drive was rather successful, and by March of 1957 Wilbert Owens could report $105,000 pledged thus far. To celebrate the progress of the fund-raising, the Board decided that the educa- tion building would be named in honor of Richard and Daisy Bagby and Etta Nunn. And the Board accepted the Christian Youth Fellow- ship's recommendation that the chapel to be included in the Bagby- Nunn building be named for long time Board member Pete Diamond. Meanwhile, Alexander kept the pressure on the Board and the church to move forward with plans by citing the statistical evidence pointing to the need for the new facility. Alexander discussed the "crowded 130 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church conditions and woefully inadequate space and equipment with which our teachers and children must work. . . . We are, indeed, reaching a critical stage and our need for our new building is rapidly increas- ing." He noted that throughout 1957 Sunday School attendance had averaged over 500 per Sunday. 26 But the Board moved slowly, deliberately, choosing to proceed only as funds available were closer to the goal. Not until 1959 was an architect hired, and it would be 1961 before final approval to start construction was given. By that time Raymond Alexander had left Washington for Lexington, Kentucky. Despite rapid growth in membership and strong programs throughout the church, financial difficulties arose during 1958. Trea- surer Max Roebuck, at the April, 1958, meeting of the Board, re- ported "that the church was in dire circumstances financially." The 1958 budget had been under-subscribed by more than $8,000, and a $3,000 deficit had been carried over from the previous year. The church was experiencing the impact of a nation-wide recession which proved to be deeper and more intransigent than most econo- mists expected. The church responded by encouraging greater sup- port of the church budget by the membership, and looked for ways to lower expenses without hurting program. By September it looked as if the church could end the year in the black without cutting the bud- get. As the year drew to a close, Wilbert Owens challenged the Board, saying that the church was a "sleeping giant," and this giant could be awakened through prayer and "sacrificial giving." 27 By the time Raymond Alexander came as minister, the Wednes- day evening service was virtually dead, and the Sunday evening ser- vice, in difficulty for several years, was also on its way out. In Alexander's first year, Sunday evening services were cancelled dur- ing the summer. In early 1956 the minister recommended an exper- imental change in program, saving Wednesday evenings for church meetings, and using Sunday evening for teaching, with study groups, lectures, and interest groups looking at such topics as church history and denominational beliefs. The Board approved the recommenda- tion. The next year Reverend Alexander used the Sunday evening time for a long series on the Bible, followed by a series of lectures on church history. The next year Sunday evening services were can- celled June through September. The Sunday evening time was in its last gasp, except for youth programming. 28 Maturing in Faith and Service 131 Under Alexander's leadership a number of changes were made in the worship service. In 1954 youth were added to the serving sched- ule for communion. Two junior deacons were to serve with the reg- ular deacons each Sunday. Two junior ushers were assigned to light the candles on the communion table at the beginning of worship (it would be a number of years before they would be referred to as ac- olytes). In 1955 the church, apparently for the first time, observed a Youth Sunday. In each of these developments, Alexander's concern for recognizing and incorporating youth into the leadership of the church can be observed. His concern was for the future: That of the young people as well as the church. 29 In 1955 the worship life of the church took a major step with the call of Charles Stevens, instructor in music at East Carolina College, to be choir director. Stevens made use of an already strong choir and brought choral techniques and classical church music to a new level. In a related move, under the leadership of Alexander the worship committee encouraged the ministers and choir director to be more intentional in relating hymns and anthems to the themes of the ser- mon. They were concerned that the service have integrity and unity throughout. 30 Charles Stevens remained with the church for five years, and was succeeded as choir director in the fall of 1960 by Hannah Rob- erson Bagwell. Bagwell had served in an interim capacity several years earlier. She continued the practice of using a wide variety of music for the choir, ranging from classic choral compositions to set- tings for hymns and works of more contemporary composers. 31 Raymond Alexander brought his ministry in Washington to a close, so he thought, in December of 1960, when he accepted a po- sition as the minister of the Woodland Christian Church in Lexing- ton, Kentucky. This allowed him to return home and serve near his family. He was succeeded in Washington by E. Rhodes Thompson, Sr. (1897-1973). Rhodes and Frances Thompson came to Washing- ton at the first of January, 1961, to serve in an interim ministry. But by March the elders of the church recommended that Thompson be called as permanent minister. 32 Rhodes Thompson had studied at Transylvania College, the Col- lege of the Bible, and Yale. He had served churches in Kentucky and Canada prior to coming to Washington. He had spent many years on the Board of Curators of Transylvania College, had served on the 132 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Board of Trustees of the United Christian Missionary Society, and served as President of the State Convention of the Kentucky Chris- tian Missionary Society. Thompson also served on the Board of Trustees of the Cane Ridge Preservation Project. This group had charge of protecting the old Cane Ridge Meeting House where Bar- ton W. Stone had begun the ministry that led to the formation of the Christian Church. Rhodes and Frances Thompson had four children, all grown when they came to Washington. One, Rhodes Thompson, Jr., is a minister. 33 Thompson entered vigorously and actively into the work of the church. He reported that in his first two months he had made 200 calls on the sick, shut-ins, inactive and new members. He noted that there had been twenty-nine additions to the church, and he hoped to top ninety by Easter. Easter came and some 815 attended the two services. 34 Within a year and a half of his arrival, he was elected President of the Beaufort County Ministerial Association, serving as each of his successors had for several decades. In 1963 one of Thompson's sermons, "The Dimensions of the Gospel," was published in the na- tionally recognized Pulpit Digest. 35 A year after Thompson arrived enough money had been raised to allow the Board to feel comfortable in recommending that the con- struction of the Bagby-Nunn Building should begin. By then the an- ticipated cost had grown to $180,840. On August 13, 1961, the cornerstone was laid with a special celebration that included placing items of historic interest in the cornerstone. 36 In addition to the Bagby-Nunn Educational Building, the church was also now considering purchasing new land for parking and re- modeling the sanctuary. The plans for the sanctuary resulted in a sig- nificant change in the appearance of the worship space, but it came through a painful and difficult period of conflict. 37 In 1962, as plans for the remodelling were underway, it was learned that W. R. Roberson had left the church $5,000 to be used for permanent improvements to the church, with the Roberson family approving any use of the funds. The family asked that the legacy be used in the renovation of the sanctuary, specifically the paneling, lights, and chancel furniture. 38 As the plans proceeded, a controversy arose as to the placement of the communion table. A special sanctuary renovation committee had been appointed by the Board to oversee the renovation of the Maturing in Faith and Service 133 sanctuary. That committee had done its work and their plans were made available. Some church members were distressed when they discovered that the plans called for the communion table to be flush against the front wall of the sanctuary. The issue was taken to the Worship Department. 39 The worship department felt itself under pressure from two di- rections, and the opinions and feelings being expressed were held with great passion. In early January, 1963, the Department sug- gested that the congregation decide. Leaders in the Official Board indicated that the Board had to act before the issue could be taken to the congregation. The Board authorized the Worship Department to make the decision, and in February, 1963, Chair William Peele re- ported that they had decided to stay with the recommendation of the sanctuary renovation committee, and have a communion table flush against the wall, giving the effect of an altar. 40 The controversy was for the most part a matter of aesthetics over against theology and tradition. For some members, including the minister, a communion table in a Disciples church has to have the form of a table, which means that elders and ministers should be able to stand behind the table at the time of the observance of the Lord's Supper. To have an altar puts more emphasis on the Communion as a sacrifice; and, they argued, to have a sacrifice requires a priest (a priest by ancient definition is one who does ritual sacrifices). In the course of the debate the "table" party solicited and received a letter from Gaines M. Cooke, Executive Secretary of the International Convention of Christian Churches. He agreed with those who wanted a table, and said that in all of his travels among Disciples churches he could "not recall of any communion table which was also an altar." 41 The opposing viewpoint was that in placing the table against the wall it was possible to make use of the raised area immediately against the wall for flowers and a cross, and that the resulting effect was one of beauty and grace. They did not believe that an "altar ef- fect" meant that the First Christian Church was abandoning its Dis- ciples heritage about the table, but simply that the table was placed against the wall. 42 The heat generated during this controversy was greater than any previous conflict within the memory of active church leaders. The reason the dispute created such energy was that those who held op- posing views were people of strong opinion, and they had the ability 134 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church and willingness to argue a point with passion. For these people, questions of theology and the meaning of the faith mattered. Equally at stake was a sense on the part of some that one family was trying to use its wealth to control the church. On the other side, a family with deep and long commitment to the congregation believed that their views had validity, and that the beauty of their design would be an appropriate memorial to their patriarch. In many congregations, of many denominations, in many places and times, this would have had the makings of a congregation dividing issue. Despite the pas- sionate arguments, the anger and frustration, the community of faith held together even in the face of a wide divergence of opinion. Regardless of the amount of time and energy given over to the questions surrounding the renovation of the sanctuary, other issues, issues involving the witness and activities of the church continued to be of primary importance. In a decision that reflected the atomic age and the dangers as well as the fears of the cold war, in 1962 the Board approved allowing the Civil Defense Committee to use the church as a nuclear fall-out shelter. 43 During the 1960s the United States made a determined effort to raise the quality of housing available to its poorest citizens, and at the same time improve the economic health of the cities. One major program in this regard was Urban Renewal. When funds were made available for local projects, the ministers of Washington expressed their concerns for the poor before the city council as well as their churches. In July, 1961, Rhodes Thompson represented the Ministe- rial Association when he spoke at the first public meeting in Wash- ington on urban renewal. When opponents argued that putting poor people in decent housing would simply turn "the decent houses into slums," Thompson argued, "that he had observed that it is impos- sible to 'take the slums out of people until you have first taken the people out of the slums.' ' ' The city accepted the urban renewal pro- posal, and both Reverend Thompson and church member Phil Willis were appointed by the mayor and city council to serve on the Federal Housing Authority to be set up as a part of the program. Three mem- bers of the congregation's Christian Action and Community Service Committee were named to the Urban Renewal and Federal Housing Committees. 44 While the Urban Renewal program was being supported by the ministers and churches of the city, the Ministerial Association, again Maturing in Faith and Service 135 under the leadership of Rhodes Thompson, began another project for the community. In December of 1962 the Beaufort County Mental Health Association had been established. Thompson was noted in the Washington Daily News as saying that they hoped to be able to de- velop a mental health clinic as soon as possible to help deal with in- dividuals and families suffering from emotional problems and conflicts. 45 Rhodes Thompson's ministry in Washington was vigorous if brief, a time of intense engagement with issues both within the con- gregation and in the community. On May 2, 1963, Thompson sent a letter of resignation to Dr. Ray Silverthorne, chair of the Board of Elders. He said that his initial commitment to Washington had been to do an interim ministry, and that during the almost two and a half years that he and Frances had been there they had been able to over- see the building of the education building, the renovation of the sanc- tuary, and paying off a deficit in the regular budget. In addition, there had been significant increases in attendance at church services and Sunday school. By January of 1963 worship attendance had reached an average of over 400 per Sunday, and more than 150 had been added to the congregation during Thompson's ministry. Giving to world outreach had also risen noticeably. "It is our belief that you are now ready to seek for leadership of longer range duration that [sic, read "than"] we can offer. We, therefore, are submitting our resignation to take effect as of June 12, 1963." 46 In September of 1963 Glenn Haney, retired minister from First Christian Church in Greenville began an interim ministry in Wash- ington. He agreed to stay in residence at the parsonage three days a week and fill the pulpit on Sundays. 47 In six months the church had lost both an extraordinary Minister of Education in Goodwin Moore, and a most capable Senior Minister in the person of Rhodes Thomp- son. With a new education facility and a renovated sanctuary, the congregation felt itself ready to move forward, and needed only the right leadership to give guidance and direction. Their choice was pe- culiar, and brilliant. In October of 1963 the Elders of First Christian Church recom- mended to the Board that Raymond L. Alexander be called to return to the church as minister. The Board and congregation responded with an enthusiastic affirmative vote. Alexander wrote to the church, "It is a great honor to be called as the minister of any congregation 136 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church at any time. To be called to return to a former pastorate is doubly an honor and an humbling experience." On January 1, 1964, the Alex- anders were back in Washington. 48 During the first few years that the Alexanders were back in town, the church had opportunity to purchase some land across from the church on Telfair Street. Through negotiations with the Wash- ington Redevelopment Commission over several years the church was able to buy land on either side of Telfair Street, stretching from Second to Third Streets, close Telfair Street in that block, and turn the space into parking for the church. 49 Meanwhile the overall church budget grew from just under $40,000 to over $80,000 during the second period of Alexander's ministry, from 1964 to 1972. For at least a part of this period 25% of the church budget went to outreach. Much of the increase in giving could be attributed to the beginning of an era of inflation in the na- tional and world economies. But part of the reason may have been a change in funding principles by the church. In 1965 it was agreed that there would not be an every member canvass, there would not be a pledge drive. Rather, each member would be encouraged to think through their stewardship and act accordingly. The Board would build budgets on the basis of recent performance and use their best judgment as to what would happen the coming year. 50 Less than four months after Alexander was back in the pulpit in Washington, the State Convention of the North Carolina Disciples came to town. Wilbert T. Owens chaired the local arrangements committee as they prepared to host the hundreds who would stream in from all over the state. Speakers for the event included Charles H. Bayer, then pastor of the First Christian Church of Alexandria, Vir- ginia, and nimble Disciples gadfly during the sixties and seventies. Mae Yoho Ward, Vice President of the United Christian Missionary Society, was another speaker. She had made herself beloved of Dis- ciples across the world by her deep personal faith and concern for individuals and congregations. A. Dale Fiers, Executive Secretary of the International Convention, was the third major speaker. 51 The Washington congregation continued to give leadership to the North Carolina Disciples. In 1967 the church led the state in total outreach giving, more than $24,000. E. Leon Roebuck and Ray Sil- verthorne both served on the Board of Trustees of Atlantic Christian College, where Leon and Essie Roebuck had established a scholar- ship fund. Alexander was chosen for the Resolutions Committee of Maturing in Faith and Service 137 the State Convention, and he was elected to a term on the Regional Board in 1971. Locally, the minister also served as an officer of the Ministerial Association and the Board of Advisors of the Salvation Army. He continued to be a Trustee of Lexington Theological Seminary. 52 When the 1960s began, the Disciples began a North America wide program called the "Decade of Decision." This was a proposal to move the church to new heights in stewardship, recruitment for ministry, and evangelism. In May of 1960 Alexander presented the program to the church Board and encouraged the Board to support the concept. He said that this "would require the utmost Christian faith and loyalty" by each person and congregation. The challenges would be great. The church agreed to participate, and accepted a goal of giving as much for others as for themselves by 1970. This would lead to 50% of the budget given to outreach. Reverend Thompson also strongly supported the Decade of Decision program, and led the church in hosting a District Consultation on the Decade of Decision, with representatives present from the national and state staffs. 53 Washington was one of many churches to accept the goals of the Decade of Decision. But the decade of the sixties seemed to have its own mind. The Civil Rights Movement moved into high gear, and minds and hearts were increasingly turning to hear the news from a far away Southeast Asian country called Viet Nam. The streets and college campuses of America were turned into places of political ac- tion, and sometimes violence. For the Disciples, in addition to dealing with the great issues of the day — issues that would beat on the doors of churches if any would dare bar the way — the decade became one in which a major over-haul of how the church was organized and thought about itself was undertaken. This process was called Restructure, and moved the church from its nineteenth century shape into a new form for a new day. Most important was the change in concept from Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) to Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Names changed. Instead of state organizations there were to be regions. Instead of State Secretaries, there would be Regional Ministers. Instead of a state or international convention, there would be Regional and General Assemblies. The Washington church participated in the process of Restruc- ture, hosting a state- wide meeting on the meaning of Restructure in 138 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church November, 1964. A. Dale Fiers, who had spoken in the church dur- ing the State Convention just a few months earlier, was back in town to present the proposals of the Restructure Committee. (Fiers would become the first General Minister and President under Restructure.) Dr. Alexander presented a series of Sunday evening classes on Re- structure during 1966. And as the process moved towards comple- tion, Alexander served on the first General Board of the Christian Church, fine-tuning and interpreting what Restructure would mean. Where Restructure changed the shape of the state, national and in- ternational manifestations of the Disciples, the congregations were only minimally affected. But one casualty was the Decade of Deci- sion. The church could not sustain the energy required for both programs. 54 While Restructure changed the shape of the Disciples, the Civil Rights Movement was changing the face of America, particularly those parts of the United States where Blacks and whites lived in close proximity, as in Washington. For years the ministers and lay leaders of the Washington church had participated in programs to improve race relations and to work for the good of the Black people of the community. When the Civil Rights Movement began, many persons, Black and white, were nervous about what might happen in the years to come. Many became angry, and in community after community confrontation led to violence and deepening bitterness. In Washington, though all of the same dynamics were present as in other communities, there was a difference. While racism had been just as much a part of official and private life there as in the rest of Eastern North Carolina, the move towards racial integration and the dismantling of the more obvious and oppressive forms of racism went relatively smoothly. Surely the regular contact between and sharing of worship among Christians of both races, at least since the early 1940s, had something to do with this. When the Supreme Court issued the Brown vs. Board of Edu- cation desegregation decision, Alexander had been in Washington only briefly. He felt that he could not yet address the issue publicly since he had moved to Washington from "up north." But he did agree to pull together a community group for discussion. Samuel Freeman, visiting Eastern North Carolina on behalf of the Southern Regional Council, addressed the question in a sermon at First Chris- tian, and had a very positive response. In the late fifties Alexander began participating in a program in which he spent two nights a week Maturing in Faith and Service 139 teaching ministers and lay leaders of the Black Disciples churches of the District. As a result he was asked by the Norfolk- Washington quarterly District meeting of the Black Disciples to speak on the work of the minister. Both Goodwin Moore and Mona Jarvis also participated in this education program, and they reported that it had been a rewarding experience. 55 In 1961, as racial tensions were escalating, the Christian Action and Community Service Committee, chaired by W. B. Scott, Jr., said that "his department endorses [the idea] that we keep a Chris- tian attitude toward racial integration." The committee kept this is- sue at the forefront of its concerns over the next several years, and led the church through observances of Race Relations Sundays. The pulpit became a primary source of the message of the church that racial bigotry and intolerance are incompatible with the Christian faith. 56 With the return of Alexander, the Christian Men's Fellowship was re-organized after a period of inactivity. But this attempt did not stick, and in 1970 Margaret Winfield, on behalf of the CWF, chal- lenged the men to establish a functioning CMF program. Raymond Alexander urged a positive response, and in January of 1971 a group of men met to try again. This time it worked. In March fifty-six men gathered to work together for fellowship and the ministry of the church. Bill Worsley was elected President. In their enthusiasm they attended the District CMF meeting and came away with William Lurvey elected District President and Cyril Merrick District Secre- tary. Later that year the CMF chose as an annual project the provid- ing of a Christmas party for mentally retarded children from the county. 57 The Christian Women's Fellowship maintained its role as the backbone of the church throughout the period of the fifties and the sixties. A perusal of the minutes of the CWF presents a picture of numerous projects for the good of others. There were collections of trading stamps, coupons, and old clothing, all for various causes in the community and around the world. Many of the projects had to do with fund raising tasks, including an annual bazaar. In addition, there were constant efforts to assist the church, from purchasing sup- plies and appliances for the church kitchen to draperies for the par- sonage. Especially with the leadership of Lillian Griffin, the women assisted the church and raised funds by serving meals for special occasions. Maturing in Faith and Service 141 Meanwhile, Eva Vann served a term as President of the Albe- marle District CWF. Numerous women over the years attended the CWF Quadrennial Assemblies meeting at Purdue University. And in 1971, it was reported that the CWF in Washington ranked twenty- ninth out of five thousand churches across the nation in giving to Unified Promotion. The women maintained their emphasis on teach- ing and learning about the world-wide mission work of the Disciples. In 1968 they hosted Claylon Weeks on his farewell furlough as a Liv- ing Link missionary. 59 While struggling with the great issues of the day, the congrega- tion had also to continue to be faithful to its mission of education and ministry to its membership. When Goodwin Moore left at the end of 1962, he was replaced temporarily by Robert Whitely, a student at Atlantic Christian College. When summer arrived and the Thomp- sons resigned, the Board decided not to pursue a full-time successor to Moore until a new minister was in place. Life-long member and experienced teacher Margaret Leggett Buck was engaged to work with the CYF. The next year, while still searching for an Associate Minister, another long-time member, Laura Lilley Jarvis, was brought on staff to work with the Chi Rho age. 60 The youth maintained their tradition of active involvement be- yond their own concerns. In 1964, four of the young people were elected to District offices, Marjorie Spruill was chosen District Chi Rho President, Loretta Woolard District CYF President, with Brenda Cothern as chair of Worship and Warren Everett as Service chair. 61 After four years of searching, Donald K. Mertz was called as Associate Minister in May 1967. A native of Bluffton, Indiana, Mertz was a graduate of Southern Bell College of Kentucky and Lex- ington Theological Seminary. 62 By the time Mertz arrived, the nature of the membership of the congregation had changed, a change reflected in part in his title as Associate Minister rather than Minister of Education. The children known as the "baby boomers," those born in the last years and the decade thereafter of the Second World War were now moving on to adulthood. The number of children in churches — and schools — all across the nation, was levelling off or declining. The needs of the church were thus changing, and Donald Mertz provided the kind of general ministerial leadership that would most assist Raymond Al- exander in serving the congregation. 142 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church Mertz stepped into the position with a quiet ease. After only three years as an Associate Minister, he was elected President of the Ministerial Association, having already served as Treasurer and Vice President. He was active in the Lion's Club, the Beaufort County Mental Health Association (Vice-President), Washington United Fund Advisory Board, Salvation Army Advisory Board, Advisory Board for Curriculum Planning — Mental Health Hygienist Pro- gram — Beaufort County Technical Institute. If that were not enough, he also found time to marry Frances Dimmitt in Lexington, Ken- tucky, and a year and a half later they had a son, John Dimmitt Mertz. 63 In education, Marjorie Spruill was elected President of the State CYF in 1969, Donald Bunch was chosen Vice President of the Al- bemarle District CYF, and Kenneth Swanner was made a youth del- egate to the District. The Young Adult Sunday school class developed an interest in the needs of the aged. Ann Warner headed a committee on the care of patients at the Beaufort Country Nursing Home, and took a proposal from the class to the church Board that the church urge the state legislature to move to requiring licensing of county owned facilities. The Board responded with an affirmative motion to be sent to State Senator Ashley Futrell. 64 One of the primary areas of responsibility given over to Donald Mertz was the work of the Consultation on Church Union. COCU is a movement looking towards the union of churches. It began in 1960, and quickly spread to a number of denominations, including the Dis- ciples. While most of the attention has been given to national meet- ings of representatives from the denominations, there has also been significant activity at the grass roots level. Washington, North Caro- lina, has been especially active in working for unity among the churches. A long history of cooperation in service and worship, go- ing back at least to the earliest days of the twentieth century, pro- vided fertile soil for the ideas and proposals emanating from COCU. In 1966, the Christian Action and Community Service Committee recommended to the Board that the minister, along with guest min- isters from the other denominations represented in Washington, present a series of Sunday evening sessions discussing the issues in- volved in COCU. 65 In January of 1968 Dr. Alexander reported that the four churches in Washington participating in COCU (Christian, United Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal) were planning to do some studies to- Maturing in Faith and Service 143 gether beginning the next month. He would be leading a discussion group at the Presbyterian Church. That same year there was a pulpit exchange among the four churches. In 1970 Don Mertz was sent to a seminar on COCU held at Princeton University. This was to help in interpreting the proposals coming out of COCU, including the antic- ipated provisional design for a united church. 66 Mertz made a series of presentations to the various churches and groups within the churches about COCU. As a result the four churches planned to sponsor a junior high dance as a preliminary ac- tivity, and then a united vacation church school to be held at the Christian Church, with all four churches participating. The churches appointed representatives to meet on a regular basis to discuss a wide range of issues relating to COCU, including its impact on the community. 67 With the arrival of the 1970s the ministers of First Christian Church began introducing some ancient Christian practices. In De- cember of 1971 Raymond Alexander wrote an article in the First Christian News about the meaning of Advent, and the historic rea- sons for Disciples and similar churches being "a bit slow to use the tools of the traditional Christian year." He said the early leaders re- sisted using any practice not clearly cited in the New Testament. "Born on the American frontier and nurtured by the philosophy of the American Revolution, we as a people had no time for, nor op- portunity to use, the embellishments of Christian worship." The tra- ditions of the Christian calendar, such as Advent, "are merely tools to be used to enhance the spirit and meaning of specific Christian teachings. When tools can be so used to help us arrive at milestones of celebration, better prepared for their deeper meaning, the use of such can be heartily recommended." He explained the symbols of Advent. Soon after the beginning of the new year, he wrote an article on the use of paraments and the meanings of the liturgical colors. Alexander hoped that the worship of the congregation would benefit from the great store of riches found in Christian tradition. 68 Another change in the worship life of the church came when the old organ, complained about for thirty years, finally reached a point of no return. During the mid-fifties the organ had been virtually re- built. But in the late sixties it was creating significant challenges for the organist and the ears of all worshipers. On May 6, 1970, after months of study — and decades of waiting — the Board approved the purchase of a new Schantz organ. Two years later the organ arrived, 144 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church and with the help of old friend O. M. "Skinny" Winfield of Burl- ington, North Carolina, the new organ was installed. A dedicatory concert took place on April 9, 1972, with Robert Burns King as or- ganist. Vivian Weatherly, still faithfully at the console, was de- lighted to be able to "sing a new song unto the Lord." 69 After almost four years as Associate Minister, Don Mertz ac- cepted a position as pastor of the Erlanger Christian Church, Er- langer, Kentucky. He left Washington in May of 1971, with best wishes from a grateful colleague in ministry and a congregation that had benefitted from his gifts of ministry. Since Raymond Alexander was planning to retire the next year, it was decided to delay the search for a full-time associate minister. It would be a year before even an Atlantic Christian College student could be found. Robert Johnson began his service as part-time youth minister in September, 1972. 70 Alexander had made it clear as early as 1969 that he planned to retire in 1972. He and Betty had built a home in Washington where he could grow his prize winning irises. His ministry had been full and rich. At the January 5, 1972, meeting of the Board, he an- nounced his plans. At the end of July 1972 I will have completed 44 years in the min- istry of the church, and on July 15 will observe my 65th birthday. I have some very strong personal convictions about this matter and feel that I should retire upon reaching 65. If I should stay on be- yond this time then there would be no logical terminal date. . . . In that case the temptation would be great to stay on beyond one's ability to adequately serve, and that I would not want to do. 71 Alexander was also concerned, since he and Betty had built a home in Washington, that he would have to take strong and definitive steps to maintain an ethical stance in regards to his successor. Min- isterial ethics forbid a minister from interfering in a former parish, and that includes functioning in any ministerial capacity without the clear invitation of the current minister. Alexander indicated that he would follow the minister's code of ethics to the letter. He would not be available for funerals, weddings, or counseling, no matter how much it hurt him or those involved. He let it be known that he in- tended to spend some significant time serving interim ministries, so that he would not be in Washington much of the first couple of years of his "retirement." 72 Maturing in Faith and Service 145 Church with Bagby — Nunn Educational Building, 1961 Pen and ink drawing by Raymond L. Alexander When it became clear that his successor would not be available until the first of October, Alexander agreed to extend his term until the end of September. At the September 6, 1972, meeting of the Board, Alexander was unanimously elected Minister Emeritus. Soon thereafter, as he prepared to preach his last sermon as pastor of the church, he said that his title would be "Close the Gate Behind Me." He assured the congregation that it would "not be a 'farewell' mes- sage nor a 'tear jerker.' ... It will be largely based on Paul's state- ment, 'Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, press on towards the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.'" (Philippians 3:13-14) At the end of the ser- mon the congregation stood and applauded their faithful pastor. 73 1 RB 8, pp. 89, 96, 99. 2 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 3 RB 8, pp. 101, 103. 4 Ibid., p. 117. 5 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society; RB 8, in- serted reports of the Minister, January 1957, May 1957; RB 8, pp. 251 , 259, 271. 6 RB 8, p. 242. 7 Ibid., pp. 90, 104, 115, 124, 177. 8 Ibid., pp. 139, 145, 162; Washington Daily News (May 20, 1955), p. 1. 9 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society; Washing- ton Daily News (May 20, 1955), p. 1. 146 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 10 RB 8, inserted reports of the Minister of Education, December 7, 1955, January 1956. 11 RB 8, p. 185, inserted report of the Minister, December 1956. 12 RB 8, pp. 218, 256-257, 274; RB 9, p. 79. 13 RB 8, pp. 224, 226, 243. 14 Ibid., pp. 247, 251, 257. 15 Ibid., p. 259. 16 Ibid., pp. 266,-267, 273; RB 9, p. 79; RB 8, p. 280-282. 17 RB 9, pp. 99, 175; RB 8, p. 274. 18 RB 9, Letter from Goodwin Moore to George R. Roberson, Chair of the Administrative Board. 19 Mary M. Toler, "Your Church and Mine," Washington Daily News (December 1, 1962), p. 2. 20 Washington Daily News (October 19, 1955, October 11, 1954); RB 8, inserted report of the Minister, December 1956. 21 Washington Daily News, clipping in Church Scrapbook 1954-1958; RB 8, inserted "Bulletin of the Education Department," November 20, 1957; Washington Daily News (April 16, 1969). 22 RB 8, pp. 127-128; Washington Daily News (April 19, 1954). 23 RB 8, pp. 133, 139; Washington Daily News (October 2, October 6, October 7, October 8, October 9, 1954). 24 RB 8, inserted report of the Minister, February 1957. 25 RB 8, pp. 105, 184, 203, inserted reports of the Minister, June 1, November 2, 1955, January 1957. 26 RB 8, pp. 213, 217, 224, inserted report of the Minister, April 1957, inserted "Bulletin of the Education Department," November 20, 1957. 27 RB 8, pp. 241, 244, 252. 28 Ibid., pp. 109, 168, 185, inserted report of the Minister, May 1957, RB 8, pp. 245-247. 29 RB 8, pp. 129-130, 242, 158. 30 Ibid., pp. 170, inserted report of the Worship Department, January 1957, RB 8, p. 253. 31 RB 9, p. 17. 32 Ibid., p. 25. 33 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 34 RB 9, pp. 24, inserted report of the Minister, April 12, 1961. 35 Ibid., pp. 139, 158, 185, 212. Maturing in Faith and Service 147 36 Ibid., pp. 258, 261, 282-283, 24-25, 31, 51, 54; Washington Daily News (August 15, 1961), p. 1. 37 RB 9, pp. 17, 19, 21. 38 Ibid., pp. 89, 156. 39 Ibid., pp. 189-190. 40 Ibid., pp. 189-191. 41 Ibid. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid., pp. 145, 247. ^Washington Daily News (July 11, 1961), p. 1; RB 9, pp. 64-65. 45 RB 9, p. 157; Washington Daily News (December 13, 1962, pp. 1, 5; RB 9, pp. 184-185. 46 RB 9, letter from Rhodes Thompson to Dr. Ray Silverthorne, May 2, 1963; RB 9, pp. 194, 219. 47 Ibid., p. 233. 48 Ibid., inserted report of the Elders, October 13, 1963; letter from Raymond Alexander to the First Christian Church, Washington, North Caro- lina, October 20, 1963. 49 RB 10, pp. 27, 59, 252; RB 11, p. 201. 50 RB 10, p. 64; RB 11, pp. 232, 267. 51 Convention Program of the One Hundred and Nineteenth Session of the North Carolina Convention of Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), April 24, 25, 26, 1964, First Christian Church, Washington, North Carolina Host Church, p. 3. 52 RB 10, p. 180; First Christian News (April 16, 1971); RB 9, p. 100; RB 8, p. 218; RB 10, pp. 39, 86, 28; RB 9, p. 247. 53 RB 8, p. 285; RB 9, pp. 16, 185. 54 RB 10, pp. 19, 118, 223. 55 Samuel F. Freeman, "Reporting on Field Service for Southern Re- gional Council Below the Fall Line in South Carolina and North Carolina, July 19-August 23, 1954," photocopy of typescript; RB 8, p. 282; RB 9, p. 27. 56 RB 9, pp. 27, 55; RB 10, p. 115. 57 RB 9, p. 250; First Christian News (November 12, 1970); RB 1 1 , p. 104; First Christian News (February 4, March 18, April 22, December 9, 1971); 58 CWF minutes. 59 RB 8, p. 285; RB 9, p. 56; First Christian News (June 11, 1971); RB 10, p. 177. 148 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 60 RB 9, pp. 189, 223, 251; RB 10, p. 118. 61 RB 9, p. 253. 62 RB 10, pp. 153-154; Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Histor- ical Society. 63 RB 11, pp. 268, 297; RB 10, p. 197; Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 64 Washington Daily News (April 20, 1969); First Christian News (May 6, 1971); RB 11, p. 285. 65 RB 10, p. 117. 66 Ibid., p. 171; First Christian News (January 8, 1970); RB 10, p. 204, 213, 250. 67 RB 10, p. 259; First Christian News (November 12, 1970); RB 11, p. 104. 68 First Christian News (December 9, 1971, January 27, 1972). 69 RB 8, p. 127; Washington Daily News (June 3, 1955); RB 10, pp. 223, 246, 261, 283; First Christian News (February 10, March 2, April 6, 1972); RB 11, p. 279, inserted organ dedication program. 70 RB 11, p. 291; First Christian News (June 17, 1971, September 7, 1972). 71 RB 11, pp. 277, 287-288. 72 Ibid., pp. 287-288, 292; First Christian News (May 11, 1972). 73 RB 11, p. 8; First Christian News (September 21, 1972). Chapter Eight Weaving New Patterns On June 18, 1972, the congregation of First Christian Church called Glenn Weaver to be its next minister, with a beginning date of October 1. Weaver is a native of Wayne County, North Carolina. He studied at Atlantic Christian College, the College of the Bible, and earned degrees in education from Western Kentucky University and George Peabody College (now a part of Vanderbilt University). He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree at Lexington Theological Seminary. 1 Weaver had served congregations in Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. He had been at Bluefield, West Virginia, when he ac- cepted the call to Washington. Weaver's wife, Hilda, came to Wash- ington with experience as an elementary school teacher. They have one son, Stuart. 2 In his first article for the First Christian News he remarked that his first Sunday would be World Wide Communion Sunday, "A great day for a minister of the Christian Church ... to begin a pas- torate. On that day we shall meet around a communion table 25,000 miles long!" A few months later Board chair Bertie Cartwright eval- uated the new minister saying, he "Has exceeded our most optimis- tic expectations." 3 During his ministry in Washington, Weaver has served on nu- merous local, state, and national boards and commissions. Among other positions, he has been President of the Beaufort County Min- isterial Alliance, served terms on the Regional and General Boards of the Church, and participated on the Personnel Committee of the Christian Church in North Carolina. 4 No problem confronted by the church during Glenn Weaver's ministry has been more time consuming or frustrating than the search for a capable associate minister. Robert Johnson completed his one year term as student Youth Minister in the summer of 1973. Weaver urged the Board "to take some steps toward obtaining either 149 150 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church an Associate Minister or a Director of Christian Education. I'm quite concerned about the Christian Education program here." 5 The Board responded by bringing in another Atlantic Christian College student, Larry Williams, as a part-time youth minister. Weaver expressed some frustration with the situation, saying that while "our boys from the college do the best that they can, . . . they are understandably limited by education and experience; however, I am grateful for any help that we can get in this area." 6 Larry Williams was succeeded as student Youth Minister by Tom Davis in May of 1974. Davis remained with the church for three years while he completed his studies at Atlantic Christian College. His length of service brought some stability to the youth program, though because of time limitations he was able to offer little beyond working with the young people. Weaver still had the responsibilities of a very large church with only modest assistance. Indeed, the very presence of undergraduate students working at the church added to his responsibilities of oversight and supervision. Weaver understood that the student ministers were learners, and it was his task to help them learn while they also contributed to the programmatic life of the congregation. Tom Davis understood the situation well, and in a Youth Sunday service in November of 1976, challenged the congre- gation to take its responsibilities in education and for the youth more seriously, and bring in a full-time associate minister. The Board re- sponded, giving the "minister authority to act decisively in procur- ing the services of an Associate who will give a large portion of his time to Christian Education." 7 Giving the minister primary author- ity in this matter was symptomatic of a growing tendency on the part the lay leadership to "let the minister do it." Finally, in the spring of 1977, a promising candidate for an As- sociate Minister was found in the person of Larry DeLion. DeLion accepted a call from the church in April, and began his service that summer. DeLion is a native of Alliance, Ohio, and grew up in the church there while Samuel Freeman, Washington Timothy, was pas- tor. DeLion attended Mount Union College and received his Master of Divinity degree from Yale just prior to coming to Washington. 8 But the mix did not work. DeLion brought energy and creativity to the position; however, from the start there was a missing element that sometimes occurs in the relationship between a church and a minister. In January of 1979 DeLion decided to pursue a doctoral de- gree on a full-time basis, and thus tendered his resignation as of June 1 of that year. 9 Weaving New Patterns 151 DeLion was followed by David Thomas (Tommy) Hill, a senior at Atlantic Christian College. Hill was succeeded by Terry Harper who came to the church in the fall of 1980, and remained for three years. When Harper graduated and moved on to Lexington Theolog- ical Seminary (and there received the first Raymond L. Alexander Memorial Scholarship), the church called Freda Philbeck, another student. She was not only the first woman student to serve as youth minister, she was the first non-Disciple. Philbeck is a United Methodist. 10 Meanwhile, Weaver continued to express concern that the work of First Christian Church could not be adequately covered by one full-time minister and a very part-time student. In May of 1984 the Board once again authorized a search for a full-time associate, with emphasis on education. Weaver told the Board that a mature person was needed, because the education ministry of the church needed to be rebuilt "from the bottom up." Meanwhile, Freda Philbeck grad- uated and moved on to seminary. She was replaced in 1985 by Den- nis Brewster. 11 In late winter of 1986, a candidate was presented for the position of Associate Minister. During the congregational called meeting, however, concerns were expressed about the age of the candidate and whether or not this particular person would have the ability to work closely and effectively with the youth. While the initial vote was to issue the call, the affirmative vote was not nearly large enough in the minds of some of the leaders. A motion was made to rescind the call, and it passed by a substantial majority. Those involved in the search and Board discussion were clearly distressed. Not the least of these was Glenn Weaver. 12 The search continued. A year passed. Finally a connection was made with a promising candidate. On July 12, 1987, the Board voted unanimously to recommend to the congregation that a call be ex- tended to Carol Wells Steffa. The congregation approved, and Steffa accepted the invitation. A native of Kinston, North Carolina, she came to Washington from Frankfort, Kentucky. She had served other churches in Texas. She is a graduate of Atlantic Christian College and Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University. Her hus- band, Don, is also a seminary graduate. The Steffas have three chil- dren, Neil and Craig Gibbs, and Ian Steffa. 13 So far as can be ascertained, Carol Steffa is the first ordained woman to serve First Christian Church of Washington. The only other possibility would have been Etta Nunn, and no record of her 152 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church ordination can be found. Although Disciples have been ordaining women since at least 1888, it would seem that none of the women serving the Washington church prior to Steffa had been ordained. Steffa reported to the church that she had learned that she is one of eleven Disciple women ministers serving in North Carolina. 14 Steffa was tapped quickly for service at the regional level. By 1988 she was chairing the Special Ministries Commission and was serving on the Search Committee for a new Associate Regional Min- ister. She has shown herself to be a person of quiet strength, creative in finding and using resources, a gentle counselor and an effective leader of committees and other groups within the church. 15 Other staff changes during the ministry of Glenn Weaver include the retirement of Evelyn Morris as church secretary. She began working at the church in February of 1953, and announced that she planned to retire after almost thirty years of service, on January 1, 1983. During much of her career she also served the church as sec- retary to the Board and as treasurer. Sadly, shortly after her retire- ment, Evelyn Morris died of cancer. 16 Morris was followed in the church office briefly by Joanne Dramstad, and then by Arlene Hagar. Hagar began her work in the summer of 1983, and continues in the position to the present. An- other change in the staff of the church came in the eighties. The Rev- erend Thomas Gibbs had served as custodian of the church since 1959. In 1985 he retired, taking with him the deep appreciation of the church he had cared for over the previous twenty-six years. 17 The youth of First Christian Church had welcomed Glenn Weaver as minister by presenting a production of "Godspell" just six weeks after his arrival. The performance was given on November 12, 1972. Under the leadership of student Youth Minister, Robert Johnson, the production had energy and joy. The youth worked long hours in preparation, and their efforts were well received. One ob- server said, "Washington ... has never witnessed anything like ' Godspell ' before. It was a shock, but they loved it!" The CYF was asked to give an encore performance at the Christian Church in Fay- etteville, at a girls reform school in Kinston, and then at the Regional Assembly in April, 1973. 18 In 1984 it was reported that a reorganization of the District CYF had resulted in Bill Worsley of Washington being elected as District President, and student Youth Minister Freda Philbeck was chosen District advisor. The two were to visit churches without active CYF Weaving New Patterns 153 groups and help them organize programs for youth. In 1988 Grace Parker was chosen as a District Representative to the Regional CYF Cabinet. Two years later Wes Ball was elected to the Regional Youth Ministry Cabinet. 19 The youth continued to be involved in activities benefitting oth- ers. They participated in "Trick or Treat for Unicef," they had fund raising projects for Camp Caroline, and especially for the special camps for mentally handicapped children. They engaged in programs to help the poor, particularly around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and through projects such as a "Walk-a-thon" sponsored by the In- terchurch Forum. In 1985 the CYF volunteered to assist in serving communion at the nursing home or any other activity which the Board would recommend to them. They expressed their eagerness to help and serve the church. In 1986, Jim Parker and Bill Worsley were given the opportunity to attend a seminar in New York concerning world hunger. 20 When Carol Steffa arrived at the church, the level of program- ming for and by the youth jumped significantly. Along with fellow- ship and study activities, there were numerous service projects planned, worship leadership, and participation in denominational and ecumenical events. A new program for older children was cre- ated with the establishment of the Junior Youth Fellowship for those in grades four through six. Another aspect of the youth ministry in Washington, at least since 1930, had been a scouting program. An Explorer Scout Post had been chartered in 1959. In 1978, the Cub Pack 21 was rechar- tered after a lapse of several years. Boy Scout Troop 21 continued to be strong, and to provide regular assistance to the church when called upon. By the 1980s Girl Scout Troop 729 had been organized, and a Brownie Troop was established in 1990. 21 Throughout the decade of the 1970s First Christian Church par- ticipated in a new form of Christian education called the Christian Life Home Curriculum. This was "designed to help families with children at home (of all ages) meet situations as they arise in every- day home life in a Christian manner." In less than a year the fourteen families in the program began to have social events together, includ- ing the occasional weekend retreat. The Christian Life Home Cur- riculum continued apparently into the early 1980s. 22 While much of the educational and fellowship emphasis of the church has been focused on the youth, another group was targeted in 154 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church a new program developed in 1989 called the "Keenagers." It actually began as the "Keenagers Breakfast Fellowship," but soon spread its interests beyond simply gathering for breakfast on a weekday morn- ing. Aimed at those sixty-five and older, the Keenagers made sure that those who are unable to drive have transportation to the group's activities. As the months went by, they began traveling to places of interest together, enjoying fellowship and learning in the context of their commitment to the church. 23 In an age when Christian Women's Fellowship groups around the country were shrinking in size and vigor, the CWF program at First Christian continued to be in the middle of the life and ministry of the church. A clear example is seen when, in 1987, Frances Tyer gave a year's summary of activities by the CWF. She reported that over 100 attended the monthly meetings. The membership had made 1 1 ,745 visits and had taken up $7,971 .60 in offerings, over $5,800 of which went to Basic Mission Finance, the primary mission funding program of the Disciples. They had given special emphasis to help- ing families in times of grief, had provided flowers for the sanctuary, and had provided volunteers to work in the community soup kitchen while also assisting in a number of projects around the church. That same year it was noted that the CWF had participated in raising a truck-load of needed items for a migrant workers program. 24 The Christian Men's Fellowship, after a twenty year on again, off again existence, came into its own in the 1970s and has main- tained an active program. They meet regularly on Sunday evenings for fellowship and study, and have continued to work with mentally retarded children, particularly at Christmas time. In 1982 they made a three year commitment to "adopt Breezy Banks Cottage" at Camp Caroline. They agreed to repair the building and keep it in good or- der. At the 1981 Regional Assembly Bill Peele was elected to a two year term as President of the North Carolina Christian Men's Fellowship. 25 After twenty-five years of service as choir director, Hannah Bag- well decided to retire from her position in 1984. She had worked with three ministers, three associate ministers, and over a dozen stu- dent youth ministers. She had spent thousands of hours in rehearsal, and worked with numerous soloists and groups. A number of persons have served as choir director since Bagwell retired. 26 Ever since the parsonage was completed in 1953, the church had been proud that its ministers had a comfortable and attractive home Weaving New Patterns 155 in which to live. But when Ray and Betty Alexander decided to make Washington their permanent home, and determined to build a house, the church found itself caught between its pride and the clear prag- matic choice of renting the parsonage and thus providing a housing allowance for their minister. That had been done. When the Weavers first moved to Washington, the parsonage was returned to the use of the minister, and the congregation was pleased. However, the Weav- ers also saw the prudence of owning their own home. Reluctantly the Board recognized that this was in the best interest of the minister. Now, however, they were not dealing with a minister within a few years of retirement. Here was a case of a minister with many years of service left. The painful decision was made to sell the parsonage, and invest the proceeds. Use of the interest, so far as possible, was to be limited to paying the minister's housing expense. 27 A significant step in the life of First Christian Church came in 1979 when the first women elders were chosen. Since the very be- ginning of the congregation, women had played at least an equal role in building, supporting, and nurturing the congregation and its wit- ness. Finally the recognition came that women were indeed officers of the church, clearly functioning as "spiritual overseers" even though they were not formally recognized as such. On July 1, 1979, two women began a term of office as elder. Lillian Griffin and Mona Jarvis accepted this additional task from the church which each had served for many years. 28 In like manner, within two years it was decided that there was no reason for women not to serve communion as deacons. It was agreed that the use of the term "deaconess" was in no way a limitation, but simply a use of a word that indicated that some deacons were female. Women who were deacons were to be expected to fulfill all those re- sponsibilities to which male deacons were called. 29 Related to the re-thinking about the eldership and role of dea- cons came a recognition that the church had never adopted a consti- tution. Rhodes Thompson had led the elders in writing a constitution in 1962, but it had never been approved. Glenn Weaver, in going over old record books, had come across the discussion from the early six- ties, and found that the constitution proposed then had been tabled because of disagreement over terminology. He asked the elders to take another look. Two months later, in July of 1988, Ray Sil- verthorne was appointed chair of a constitution committee. He had also served on the committee in 1962. The consensus was that after 156 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church a hundred years, it was time to codify the way the church is governed. 30 The process began with an examination by the whole Board of the 1962 draft. It was agreed that a committee would revise the lan- guage to make it current. Two years later the committee brought the new text of the constitution to the Board. Numerous changes were made of a technical sort. On July 19, 1990, the Board adopted the proposed constitution as revised. At a September 9, 1990, meeting of the congregation, the constitution was approved unanimously by the congregation. The document did not change in any significant way the structure of the church, but did put in writing how the church was to be governed. 31 Throughout the period of Glenn Weaver's ministry the church has continued its record of ecumenical and benevolent activity. The churches in Washington involved in the Consultation on Church Union — COCU — continued to meet and work together on common projects, learn about one another, and study proposals for the move to unity. By 1976, the original four churches (Christian Church, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, and United Methodist Church) were joined by another COCU denomination, the Christian Methodist Episcopal, a Black denomination rooted in the Methodist tradition. Together these five churches entered into a new level of life together, as they participated in the COCU sponsored Interim Eu- charistic Fellowship. This was a plan by which congregations of the COCU denominations would worship together and share the Lord's Supper — the Eucharist. Not only did they discuss with each other what they understood by the Lord's Supper, they overcame the bar- riers that normally might have kept them from fully celebrating the Supper together. 32 Ironically, it was at least in part the success of this program, and its interracial character, that led to its demise. In 1980 the COCU churches decided to dissolve the COCU structure for their meetings in order to include other churches in the community, churches that were not a part of COCU. Especially important in this regard were the Southern Baptists and the Roman Catholics. The Interchurch Fo- rum replaced COCU as the cooperative organ of the churches in Washington. They worked together on numerous projects and com- munity worship experiences. Glenn Weaver served as one of the early Presidents of the Interchurch Forum. Related to the Interchurch Forum was the decision of the Christian, Methodist, and Presbyte- Weaving New Patterns 157 rian churches to develop what they called "Adventures in Faith." This was a program to bring outstanding speakers to the community for a series of ecumenical services open to the community. 33 These ecumenical relationships also resulted in new and creative forms of local outreach during the 1980s. The churches developed a soup kitchen and food pantry for the hungry, the "Zion Shelter" which provides overnight housing for the homeless, and a Food for Folks program that provided hot meals for the homebound. 34 At the January 13, 1985, meeting of the Board, a letter from Paul Dunn was read, describing a memorial to his father which was to be established through a gift included with the letter. The memo- rial was to be the Bill Dunn Good Samaritan Fund. The intent of this fund is for it to serve the 'shepherd of the flock' with a means to assist when and where necessary to meet the needs of those who are in trouble, adversity, illness or misfortune of any kind, without having to wait for a committee to act, a board to meet or for any of the usual avenues of assistance to be pursued. There are many situations we know, and as Daddy was aware, which need immediate discreet attention for whatever the reason. The Dunn family hoped that others would want to add to this fund through memorial gifts or celebrations as a way of helping people in a quiet way. Nothing could have pleased Glenn Weaver more. His ministry, and his heart, always went out to the poor. 35 Other benevolent activities during the 1980s included participa- tion in the settlement of a refugee family in 1982-1983. This was another project of the Interchurch Forum. The church has also pro- vided a lot for use by the Beaufort County Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, so that they could build a facility to train those with severe vision problems and blindness. The CROP walk, a program to raise funds for the poor of the world through Church World Service has become an annual event. In the last two years the church has supported Habitat for Humanity, a program to provide low cost housing for the poor. And a Bereavement Support Group has been created to minister to those who are in grief over the loss of loved ones. All of these activities are rooted in the commitment of the congregation from the earliest days of its life to caring about those within the congregation and within the community. 36 With such commitments, it is not surprising that the church re- sponded positively to a proposal to build a facility for the aged. The 158 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) provides a ministry to children and the aged throughout the United States and Canada. They were asked by North Carolina Dis- ciples to explore the possibility of a home in their state. The decision was to build in Williamston, and to name the project Santree. 37 A goal of one and a half million dollars was set, with the Wash- ington church challenged to commit $121,500 over a three year pe- riod. Glenn Weaver was chosen as the first Chair of the Board at Santree, and Ann Traylor (Grist) was elected to that Board. The con- gregation did not reach the challenge goal, but did pledge $81,089. In 1982, as the facility was underway, local Timothy Oden Latham was called to serve as the NBA Director of Development for Santree. There was much interest and enthusiasm for the project. It was lo- cated nearby. The church and its members invested their funds and their time. They were delighted and proud that one of their own was given major responsibility for the facility. But the time, and the set- ting, was not right for an institution of this magnitude, and Santree did not survive. 38 A 1985 campaign to strengthen the Regional work of the Chris- tian Church in North Carolina met with better results. Among the goals of this fund drive were to undergird new church development, the camp and conference program, and expand the office building of the Region. The Washington congregation accepted a challenge of $30,000. 39 At the national and international level of the church, in addition to service by Glenn Weaver on the General Board of the church, Hannah Bagwell served a term on the Board of Trustees of Lexington Theological Seminary. Ray Silverthorne served a number of terms on the Board at Atlantic Christian College. The annual Disciples Week of Compassion offering remained an important concern of the congregation. In 1986 it was reported that the gifts of First Christian Church towards the Week of Compassion were the second highest in North Carolina. 40 By 1990 some in the congregation were concerned that the church had entered a period of drifting without a clear focus. The Board decided that a period of evaluation might be helpful, and called upon the Disciples National Evangelistic Association to visit and conduct a Parish Enrichment study. Among the many recom- mendations coming out of the report were several directed at pro- gram development and evangelism. Others had to do with a Weaving New Patterns 159 revitalization of the Sunday morning worship service. The report challenged the church to consider working on financial stewardship and upgrading facilities. For many, the most troubling recommenda- tion had to do with recognizing that Glenn Weaver was approaching retirement age, and that it was time to plan for a transition to a new Senior Minister. As a result, Weaver assisted the church by announc- ing his plans to retire as of June 30, 1991. 41 As Glenn Weaver's ministry at First Christian Church of Wash- ington comes to a conclusion, he has reflected on what he believes have been the most important changes and emphases at the church. One he lists with pride is the role of women as elders and deacons, and second the arrival of the first ordained woman minister. Another sign of profound spiritual growth and maturity in the congregation, according to Weaver, has been the acceptance of a Black family into the life and leadership of the church. William Polk and his family have not only been regular worship participants, but also Bill has served as Deacon and now as Elder, elected to those offices by the congregation. In addition, other members of the church come from Middle Eastern and Asian backgrounds. Finally Weaver cites the many examples of ecumenical community outreach which have evolved, especially during the decade of the 1980s. He sees these as fulfilling the heritage of Disciples in general and the tradition of community concern by this congregation. 42 One of the most distinctive marks of the character of the First Christian Church of Washington has been the number of Timothys and Priscillas that have come out of the church. According to tradi- tion, the number exceeds thirty, and if public commitments are in- cluded in the count, or if spouses of ministers are counted, as the church in earlier days would do, thirty would be a modest number. In terms of persons who have actually gone into ministry, the known number is twenty-six. Some of those claimed by the church were born and raised within the congregation. Others spent a period of time, generally- significant time, with the church prior to going into ministry. Most churches, even churches much larger and older than the Washington church, cannot come close to the number that First Christian of Washington can claim to have sent into the ministry. To search for reasons for this is to ponder the elusive issue of the personality of a congregation. At the close of Richard Bagby's.life, one person said that "His was a ministry so attractive as to make 160 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church youth want to be ministers. He perpetuated his ministry by influenc- ing a score, or more, of young men to dedicate themselves to the kind of service that Brother Bagby was rendering to his God." 43 Raymond Alexander said that he had pondered the question of why so many Timothys came from one church. He remarked: While there is no 'pat' answer, I have the feeling that there are two or three important contributing factors. One is the intangible something called 'atmosphere.' This is the felt, but often inex- pressible impression that our people in general leave upon others that the church is an important and vital matter, to them as indi- viduals. This is evidenced by the loyal support, generally good at- tendance, and provision of adequate facilities with which to work. Another factor is the importance attached to the educational pro- gram of the church, with building facilities to make teaching as effective as possible, . . . plus an excellent teaching staff across the years. A third factor is the acceptance of the young as respon- sible, capable churchmen. This is evidenced by our youth deacon and deaconess program. . . . There are many other influences that work upon people, such as home environment, that of individuals and the influence of God working in human life and affairs. . . . We are grateful for the contribution this church has made through the immeasurable value the lives and work our 'Timothys' have and will make to the Kingdom of God. We will remember the 'shared ministry' of those we have and will send out into full-time Christian service. There is a very real challenge here for the future. 44 Over the years the church had thought about the matter of en- couraging young people to consider the ministry. In the early 1950s an educational loan fund was established which included a scholar- ship provision for ministerial students. For many years one percent of the annual budget went into this fund. 45 The twenty-six Timothys that have been identified in the course of this study are: 1. Dennis Warren Davis, son of the first minister of the church, moved into Independent Christian Churches as a pastor. 2. Thaddeus Hassell Bowen, long time pastor and professor of theology at the College of the Bible. 46 3. A. C. Fodrey, pastor of several small churches, ordained at Washington in 19 14. 47 Weaving New Patterns 161 4. F. A. Lilley, in addition to serving numerous rural churches, was the long-time "Minister of Benevolence" at First Chris- tian Church. 48 5. Leon Hill, last known as a ministerial student at Atlantic Christian College. 49 6. Guy Saunders, pastor of many churches, especially in North Carolina. 51 7. D. W. Arnold, businessman turned preacher, served primarily in rural churches in Eastern North Carolina, chose to follow the Independent Christian Churches. 51 8. John Waters, preacher, teacher and administrator at Atlantic Christian College. 52 9. Wilbur I. Bennett, ordained by the Washington church, appar- ently in 1928. 53 10. Samuel F. Freeman, Jr., raised almost literally in the church, pastor and church leader. 54 11. Ray Silverthorne, pastor turned physician, returned to Wash- ington to minister as a healer. 55 12. James Alger Lollis, from Old Ford, spent part of his youth in the Washington church, life-long and much beloved pastor of several churches. 56 13. Harold Tyer, of the Athens Chapel Church, has spent many years as minister and member of the church, and is claimed as one of its own. 57 14. Frank Jones, originally from Bath, found his years in the Washington church a part of the inspiration that led him to ministry late in life. 15. R. Frank Butler, another one ordained late in life, who served the Independent Christian churches. 58 16. Joseph Lafayette Roberson, pastor of many years and a num- ber of churches. 59 17. Frank Leggett, ordained after several years of secular work, has spent almost forty years in parish ministry. 60 18. Marshall Leggett, brother of Frank, pursued ministry in the Independent churches, has been pastor of two large churches and is now President of Milligan College. 61 19. David Lee Alexander, son of Raymond, entered seminary soon after his parents came to Washington, after years of par- ish ministry has become a Regional Minister. 62 20. Shirlie Gaskins, when last heard from was preparing for min- istry in Christian education. 63 21. Oden Latham, one of several influenced by Raymond Alex- ander and Goodwin Moore, has been a pastor, a development officer for the church, and now an Area Minister. 64 162 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 22. Callie Clifton Garris, Jr., pastor of several churches in the South and the Midwest. 65 23. Sammy Jones, after a number of years as a pastor left active ministry to work as a youth counselor. 66 24. Richard L. Harrison, Jr., college and seminary teacher, now Dean of the Disciples Divinity House and a professor of church history at the Vanderbilt Divinity School. 67 25. George Lee Parker, pastor of several churches, now serving in Montgomery, Alabama. 68 26. Don Steffa, ordained November 18, 1990, is serving as pastor of the Bath Christian Church. 69 Throughout the hundred years in the life of the First Christian Church of Washington, it has been a congregation that always mea- sured its spiritual health by what it was doing for others. The record reflected here of local outreach, local ecumenical activities, District, State (Regional), and General outreach, and numbers sent into min- istry reflects a community of faith that has been built on concern for others. It has also been a church marked by giving leadership, lead- ership in the community, in the state and at the national and inter- national level. It would seem that the strength of the congregation has been increased when members and ministers were most involved on boards and commissions and committees outside of the congre- gation. When the church has been most self-less, it has been most effective. Soon after Glenn Weaver came to Washington, he spoke of standing in the church's hall of history looking at the photographs of his predecessors in the ministry in Washington. And he asked, what makes a great church great? Was it those great preachers who served here? Or did a great church make its preachers great? It is a perennial question which defies a proven answer; however, it's most likely that whatever greatness there has been grew out of that peculiar chemistry that occurs when a great people and a good pastor faithfully serve to- gether. 70 1 RB 11, p. 282; "Church Gets New Minister," Washington Daily News (September 29, 1972), p. 1. 2 Ibid. 3 First Christian News (September 28, 1972); RB 11, p. 44. Weaving New Patterns 163 4 First Christian News ((June 18, 1978); RB 13, September 11, 1983. 5 RB 11, inserted report of the Minister, July 11, 1973. 6 RB 11, pp. 65, 87, 93-94. 7 Ibid., p. 97; First Christian News (November 14, 1976). 8 First Christian News (March 13, March 20, April 10, September 11, 1977). 9 Letter from Larry DeLion to Administrative Board, January 3, 1979; First Christian News (March 4 and passim, 1979). 10 First Christian News (September 16, 1979); RB 13, September 3, 1980; First Christian News (April 24, 1983). 11 RB 13, March 11, 1984; RB 14, July 8, November 11, 1984, Jan- uary 13, 1985, financial reports for 1985-1986. 12 RB 14, March 9, March 16, 1986. 13 RB 15, July 12, 1987. 14 Ibid., September 6, 1987. 15 Ibid., December 4, 1988. 16 RB 13, September 12, 1982. 17 Ibid., May 15, July 10, 1983; RB 14, November 10, 1985. 18 RB 1 1 , p. 12; "Young People Show Love for Christ Through Play," Washington Daily News (November 17, 1972); RB 11, pp. 24, 33. 19 RB 14, September 9, 1984; RB 15, March 15, 1988; RB 16, March 11, 1990. 20 First Christian News (October 24, 1976, January 23, March 27, 1977, November 25, 1979); RB 14, September 8, 1985, May 18, 1986. 21 First Christian News (February 12, 1978); RB 8, p. 256; First Christian News (May 10, 1981); RB 16, March 12, 1989, November 11, 1990. 22 First Christian News (January 8, December 2, 1971). 23 RB 16, March 12, 1989, and passim. 24 RB 15, January 4, May 3, 1987; RB 16, March 12, 1989. 25 First Christian News (November 30, 1972, February 7, 1982, May 10, 1981). 26 RB 14, September 9, October 14, 1984. 27 First Christian News (October 21, 1979, November 9, 1980); RB 13, November 5, 1980, March 13, 1983. 28 First Christian News (July 8, 1979). 29 First Christian News (May 24, 1981). 30 RB 9, p. 171; RB 15, May 15, July 10, 1988. 31 RB 15, September 11, 1988; RB 16, July 19, September 9, 1990. 164 Disciples on the Pamlico: A History of the First Christian Church 32 Report of the Commission on Interim Eucharistic Fellowship to 15th Plenary Meeting, Louisville, KY, March 9-12, 1982, Consultation on Church Union, pp. 6-7. 33 First Christian News (January 31, 1982); RB 13, September 11, 1983; First Christian News (January 9, 1983); RB 14, May 5, 1985. 34 RB 14, May 5, 1985; First Christian News (July 7, 1985); RB 15, January 4, 1987, January 3, 1988; RB 14, July 14, 1985, October 13, 1986. 35 RB 14, January 13, 1985. 36 RB 13, September 12, 1982, July 10, November 6, 1983, January 8, March 11, May 13, , June 17, 1984; RB 16, January 14, May 6, 1990. 37 RB 11, p. 74. 38 First Christian News (January 18, October 24, 1976, February 19, 1978, June 17, 1979, September 17, 1982). 39 RB 14, May 5, July 14, 1985; RB 15, May 3, 1987. 40 First Christian News (November 22, 1972); RB 14, April 8, 1986. 41 RB 16, January 14, 1990; Richard Roland, "Parish Enrichment Conference Report," June 7-8, 1990; January 13, 1991. 42 Interview with Glenn Weaver, March 8, 1991. 43 "Richard Bagby Remembered," Chesapeake Christian (September 1948). 44 First Christian News (July 8, 1971). 45 RB 8, pp. 84, 89. 46 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 47 RB 2, p. 155; Yearbook of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina for 1916, p. 16. 48 RB 11, p. 260. 49 RB 5, pp. 177, 179. 50 "The Church's Contribution to Ministry," Gospel Light (November 1941). 51 Charles D. Moore, Dave Arnold: Seventy-Five Years in Tar Heel Pulpits (Atlanta: Charles D. Moore, 1963). 52 "The Church's Contribution to Ministry." 53 Yearbook of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina for 1929, pp. 3, 13. 54 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 55 "The Church's Contribution to Ministry." 56 Letter from James Alger Lollis to First Christian Church, Washing- ton, N.C., November 12, 1941. 57 See Chapters 5 and 6. Weaving New Patterns 165 58 "Asked to be Ordained," Gospel Light (February 1943). 59 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 60 RB 8, p. 144. 61 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society. 62 Ibid. 63 RB 8, letter from Shirlie Gaskins to Administrative Board, Septem- ber 5, 1958; letter from Eva New to Raymond Alexander, September 2, 1958. 64 RB 9, p. 251; RB 10, p. 85. 65 Biographical files, Disciples of Christ Historical Society; RB 10, p. 86; RB 11, p. 233. 66 RB 10, p. 86; RB 11, p. 233. 67 RB 11, p. 298. 68 First Christian News (April 16, 1978). 69 RB 16, September 9, 1990. 70 First Christian News (October 12, 1972).